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£21million redevelopment of Rochford Hospital

September 17, 2006 by  

By Jo Bowring

A £21million redevelopment of Rochford Hospital should be fully open by March 2008, NHS officials have announced.

The news came as Rochford district councillors were given a sneak preview of facilities at the hospital for mental health patients.

Patrick Geoghegan, chief executive of South Essex NHS Partnership Trust, showed councillors an animated artist’s impression of how the 144-bed hospital will look.

Mr Geoghegan said: “It is a dream I know people in Rochford have been looking forward to for some years.

“To actually see it coming to fruition is really a big thrill for us all.

“From an economic point of view, it will bring in more work to the town – not just doctors and medical staff, but cleaners, secretaries and catering workers.

“It will mean a wealth of regeneration for the people of Rochford.”

Addressing security concerns, he said: “Patients coming here won’t need high-security treatment.

“However, we do acknowledge that patients wander.

“We can isolate units using a swipe-card system if needed, but people have to understand legislation restricts what we can do.

“Unless we can prove patients really are a danger to themselves or others, it is very difficult for us to restrict what they can do.

Responding to concerns that patients might abscond and try to kill themselves, he added: “I hope nobody ever does go down to the railway line, but that is a fact of life.

“It is awful, but we can never say it will never happen, all we can do is do our best to prevent it.”

The computer presentation showed the new hospital from the point of view of a visitor, walking through it, to a baffling soundtrack of wistful Arabian music.

Images swept viewers through the grounds, past the reception area and around the various rooms inside.

These included an exercise room, a canteen, a sitting room, private rooms and treatment areas.

The old hospital has already been demolished.

1:40pm Monday 11th September 2006

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