Meeting Over Plans For Nelson Hospital

Residents' views sought over Local Care Centre

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More than 100 residents attended two meetings to give their views on the future of Wimbledon's Nelson Hospital.

The NHS plans to establish a Local Care Centre (LCC) at the hospital in Kingston Road, as part of their "Better Healthcare Closer to Home" project.

Last year the project underwent a thorough review by the Sutton and Merton NHS Trust, but planning work for a LCC at the hospital has started again.

The meetings on Wednesday (July 20) were told that the designs for the site were being finalised before a planning application is submitted, probably around August. If the scheme goes ahead, construction work would start in May/June 2012, with a potential completion date in 18 months.

Project Lead Sue Howson, from Sutton and Merton Primary Health Care Trust, told the first meeting, which was 'standing-room only', that the building would be designed from the inside-out to meet clinical needs first.

The health services included in the scheme would include diagnostics, a pharmacy, two local GP practices (Church Lane in Merton Park and Cannon Hill Lane in West Wimbledon), dentistry, mental health, endoscopy and other minor procedures. It is likely to be open six-days-a-week, from 8am-8pm.

Sue Howson said: "The knack will be how we make all the services work together and we have spent quite a lot of time thinking about how we link areas together".

An assisted housing scheme would be built on an adjacent site, now the Nelson Hospital's car park.

But residents at the first meeting expressed concern at potential traffic problems - especially at the Watery Road junction with Kingston Road.

Several also feared there would be insufficient car parking. The meeting heard there were now 100 parking spaces at the existing hospital, but the current plans have 58 spaces. However, the final numbers were "work in progress" and would be finalised in conjuction with the council, the meeting heard.

Sue Howson added: "The way the hospital is now just doesn't support modern health care."

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October 10, 2011