What will become of the Princess of Wales Hospital?
A QUESTION mark hangs over the future of Ely s Princess of Wales Hospital as health officials struggle to balance their books. Just months after they decided to merge the two wards at the hospital, and hand over control of the GPs surgeries to a manageme
A QUESTION mark hangs over the future of Ely's Princess of Wales Hospital as health officials struggle to balance their books.
Just months after they decided to merge the two wards at the hospital, and hand over control of the GPs' surgeries to a management board, they are reviewing its whole future.
The move has led to concerns from the city's MP Jim Paice who has warned that any downgrading of the hospital would lead to a "huge outcry".
"I think bringing in new doctors for the surgeries is the time to look at what more they can do there not less," said Mr Paice, MP for South East Cambridgeshire.
The review is in line with the Government's demands for Primary Care Trusts across the country to look closely at their provider services - those services that they run and finance directly as opposed to those that they commission from outside agencies.
With a budget deficit running into tens of millions of pounds, Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust is reviewing the county's four community hospitals.
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But chief executive, Chris Banks, has hinted that the Princess of Wales could be spared because the growing city is a distance from an acute centre.
He said: "One of the key principles in the review of all four community hospitals in Cambridgeshire is that geographic factors are a major consideration. For example, we believe that community bed-based facilities should be developed in places which are a significant distance from existing acute hospitals.
" Whilst I cannot give any cast iron guarantees about the outcome of the review as it relates to the Princess of Wales, it is a fact that the nearest acute hospital from Ely is some distance away.
"No date has been set for the review of the Princess of Wales Hospital but the PCT will, in due course, wish to engage local people in any discussions or consultation on the future of services on that site."
Ely North Cllr. Allyson Broadhurst who chairs East Cambridgeshire District Council's external partnership committee and is a former chairman of the East Cambridgeshire and Fenland PCT will be discussing the issue with the PCT.
She said: "This has huge implications for Ely. It is tremendously important that we retain local services for the benefit of our population and the surround rural area."
In June the PCT temporarily merged the Welney and Wicken wards at the hospital but has stressed this situation is under continuous review.