‘Early-stage’ plans made for urgent treatment centre near Norfolk coast
PUBLISHED: 07:15 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:33 25 February 2020
Plans are at an “early stage” for a new urgent treatment centre incorporating geriatric care and a mental health walk-in centre at Cromer Hospital.
Such a centre could be key to boosting health care north Norfolk, which has the highest average age in the country and some of the UK's slowest ambulance response times.
Duncan Baker, North Norfolk MP, has hailed the plans for the centre, which he said would be "absolutely wonderful" for the area.
A spokesman from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) foundation trust said: "Plans are at an early stage to add a diagnostic assessment and referral treatment centre that would provide a community-based admission avoidance service and access to rapid diagnostics without the need to travel to Norwich."
The spokesman said the centre would complement the hospital's existing minor injuries unit and offer bookable and walk-in appointments.
He added: "We are working with other NHS organisations and system partners to develop a joint approach to the service which could involve adding an extension to the Cromer Hospital building or creating a new facility in the area.
"Looking at the needs of the local population, the service is likely to have provision for older people and patients with mental health conditions."
Mr Baker said he had the idea for the centre after discussing how to improve ambulance response times and mental health in north Norfolk with Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for health and social care.
He said such a centre could be built for under £7m.
Mr Baker said: "Work on a brand new, state of the art £4.5m cancer treatment facility is about to begin, delivered through a partnership between the NNUH Trust and MacMillan Cancer Support.
"This kind of fruitful partnership is an exciting way to bring new facilities on stream, and I want to work with [NNUH Trust chief executive] Sam Higginson and his team to do even more.
"I think Cromer Hospital is the jewel in the crown of our local hospitals.
"A facility such as an urgent treatment centre incorporating mental health facilities would be fantastic and much needed for the community."