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Hospital remains 'important' to future plans - trust chief

It comes after a group fighting the walk-in centre's closure was rebranded as 'Friends of Accrington Victoria Hospital'

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Kevin McGee, Chief Executive of the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

Accrington Victoria is ‘important’ to future healthcare plans, NHS bosses insist.

The GP walk-in centre at the hospital may have closed this month, but campaigners have now switched their focus, re-branding themselves the ‘Friends of Accrington Victoria Hospital’.

Hyndburn’s Tory leader has also met with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust to discuss his concerns for the hospital, as we reported in his political column last week.

Coun Tony Dobson set out his vision of how the hospital could relieve pressure from Royal Blackburn, and said he was reassured by trust chief executive Kevin McGee’s response.

Mr Dobson wrote: “I wanted to meet with him just to express my concerns and vision for Accrington Victoria Hospital and how I believe that this site could be a tremendous asset to the Pennine Lancashire trust and take pressure away from Royal Blackburn and in particular accident and emergency.

“I was extremely pleased to find that Mr McGee and myself are singing off the same hymn sheet, he recognises the historic value of Accrington Victoria Hospital to the people of Hyndburn and also recognises that if we are to improve healthcare provision in Hyndburn, centres like this are absolutely important and should be places where service provision is expanded not reduced, so that venues like Royal Blackburn are dedicated to those who are seriously ill and in need of extreme care.

“One major concern for Mr McGee is that he is trying to provide 21st-century healthcare in a Victorian building and the two didn’t naturally sit well together.

"He did express his concerns around building maintenance and how the building can affect patient care.”

He added: “I was totally reassured that the vision I have for health and social care in Hyndburn is mirrored by the East Lancashire Hospital trust chief executive and we both agree that the Accrington Victoria Hospital site has a great future in providing modern and holistic Health care for the people of Hyndburn.”

Mr McGee told us this week: “Accrington Victoria Community Hospital is important to our future plans and we are looking to site as many services as possible within our community services.

“There are some patients in our acute beds who could go home if there was a stronger community or social care infrastructure in place.

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"That is why we are working closely with our partners in the local health and care system to develop integrated neighbourhood teams and intensive home support services.”