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Gloucestershire Business News

Plans to be submitted for new Forest of Dean hospital

The final stages of preparation are underway for the construction of a new community hospital in Cinderford, which is due to open in summer 2023.

Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust is preparing to submit a full planning application for the new 24-bed hospital in Steam Mills Road, which will replace the existing Dilke Memorial Hospital and Lydney Hospital.

Drawings and designs for the building are being made public this week, ahead of a trust board meeting on July 15 to sign off the final business case for the new hospital. If approved by the Board, the trust will then seek planning permission with a view to starting construction early in 2022.

Angela Potter, director for Strategy and Partnerships at the trust, said: "We are delighted that after so much hard work and preparation we are nearly ready to begin the planning and construction of a great new health facility for the Forest of Dean.

"We are committed to providing the best facilities we can for the people of the Forest, and to offer services with the best possible outcomes. A modern hospital will be a much-needed addition to the district for both residents and NHS staff.

Public comments on the plans are welcomed and can be submitted using  the link at the bottom of this article.

"Naturally, we want to continue to work with the Forest of Dean community on this project - as we have done over a number of years - and would invite everyone to look at the plans and drawings, ask questions and leave their comments," added Ms Potter.

A number of artists impressions, floorplans and site drawings are now available following months of work to develop proposals for the site, which was agreed with Cinderford Town Council back in 2019. Development of the hospital was put on hold through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ward will be made up of single rooms with ensuite facilities to minimise the risk of cross-infection and maintain infection control standards, and a purpose-built therapy gym for rehabilitation.

Alongside the inpatient ward, the hospital will include a Minor Injuries unit with separate adult and children waiting areas, x-ray, radiology and ultrasound services, consulting and treatment rooms for outpatient clinics, a children's clinic area, endoscopy suite and clinic space for dentistry and podiatry.

The hospital is also being designed with BREEAM certification as a target - as previous community hospitals such as North Cotswolds and Tewkesbury have been - to help reduce energy consumption and support an NHS ambition of net zero carbon emissions.

Access to the site will be via a new junction where the current skatepark entrance is located, with parking to the front of the site and the building positioned further back.

Trust chief executive Paul Roberts said: "We recognise that this is a major project for both the NHS and the Forest of Dean.

"Our Trust - and the wider NHS - has used all the expertise available to us to design a high-quality and sustainable hospital with services based on the needs of the community, and I hope we are in a position to deliver a new hospital for the Forest of Dean in the near future."

As part of the hospital project, the trust will provide a new skatepark in Miner's Field and a rebuilt multi-use games area at the Sports Field.

You can comment on these plans from July 7, using the form on the website https://www.ghc.nhs.uk/foresthospital. Comments are invited by the end of Friday, July 23.

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