Montagu land to be cleared for houses?

THE site of the former Nurses’ Home attached to Mexborough Montagu Hospital on Cemetery Road is set to be sold off.

Bosses at the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust hope to raise cash by sale of the land with outline planning permission for housing,

The old Nurses’ Home has been demolished and a new planning application is before Doncaster Council.

A scheme for a complete restructuring of the whole Montagu Hospital site is still being finalised, with a public consultation due to start at the end of May this year.

Last year saw an unveiling of proposals to turn the Montagu in to a rehabilitation centre serving the whole Trust area.

The news resulted in a local storm of protest against the future loss of acute medical wards.

There was further concern over the revelation that cash from the Fred and Ann Green Legacy, left by the local couple to benefit Mexborough people and the hospital, could help to bankroll the proceedings.

The interim chief executive of the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Peter Reading, claimed the majority of services would be retained, while new rehabilitation wards would be built, along with an administrative ‘hub’ which was earmarked then for the old Nurses’ Home building.

The rehab centre would run for seven days a week, he said, and would retain the name of Mexborough Montagu Hospital - while delivering short intensive rehabilitation to “long-livers” with serious conditions. But it would lose its emergency wards for local patients.

The cash-strapped Trust claimed all new options for the Montagu Hospital were not made with ‘cost-cutting’ in mind - but are the result of long-term planning for more effective use of facilities.

Early last year, plans by Doncaster Primary Care Trust to buy the old Nurses’ Home site and build a new health centre fell through. Blame was given to “financial pressures placed on the NHS” that swallowed previously allocated funds.

A spokeswoman for the Trust said of the Nursing Home plot: “ The rehabilitation development at Mexborough is proposed for the main hospital site. We are hoping to dispose of the land with outline planning permission, as we then get a better asking price”.

She said the proceeds from the sale will go into the capital funding pot, adding: “If the building is in use, we’re getting income to pay ‘capital charges’. But otherwise payment of those charges comes out of patient care budgets. That’s a waste of taxpayers’ money. So we are selling or demolishing any buildings that are significantly underused”. The main cost of future changes to the Montagu will come from the Trust’s capital pot, she said, but “extras” such as an on-site gym could be funded by money from the Fred and Ann Green Legacy.

Before the Nurses’ Home was demolished, it had one resident, with its remaining flats unoccupied, the Times was told. It had been used mainly for storage.