CHASE Community Hospital in Whitehill and Bordon will get a facelift in the new year.

The entrances will be repainted, the gutters cleared and the front paving slabs replaced with a level surface as part of a refurb.

And the work doesn’t end there. NHS Property Services, which owns the building, is looking for new tenants who are potentially interested in renting some of the unused space within the hospital to provide services for local people. This could include community groups or local businesses that complement services already at the hospital site.

NHS South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group has been working with Royal Surrey County Hospital to determine which of the services currently provided by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that it might be able to provide locally.

The Trust has started to offer ophthalmology from Badgerswood practice, and potentially Forest Surgery, and pre and post-natal care for local women who choose to give birth with them which is provided from GP practices, the Chase Community Hospital or within women’s homes.

The Trust is also going to provide paediatric services from Forest Surgery and is planning to do this from early January 2019. In addition it is exploring how it can provide rheumatology from the GP practices with patients travelling from Surrey to use the service as well. 

The clinical commissioning group is continuing to work with partners to develop the outline business case for the new health hub despite recent news that its bid for national NHS England capital funding toward the build costs was unsuccessful at this time.

It will now be exploring alternative sources of capital funding to support the project.

Sara Tiller, managing director of the clinical commissioning group, explained: “The news that we have been unsuccessful on this occasion is disappointing but we knew that securing funding would be a challenge and we are committed to continuing to work with our partners to explore all potential funding routes.

“We will continue to develop the outline business case for the scheme while undertaking further work to explore other sources of capital investment, which may be available. The outline business case will then be considered by our Governing Body later in the spring of 2019. 

“We are aware of the rumours but I would like to reassure local people that the Chase is not closing and will remain open until a better health hub facility can be provided in the new town centre.

“That’s why it’s great to know that NHS Property Services is going to be doing some work on the hospital and looking for potential new tenants. I am also delighted that Royal Surrey County Hospital is starting to provide services locally which is great news.”

There are a range of services provided at the hospital including physiotherapy, baby and children’s clinics, podiatry, speech and language therapy, sexual health, adult and older people’s mental health, counselling and screening.

Plans to move clinics out of Chase Community Hospital earlier this year had to be revised after local people showed their strength of feeling about healthcare in Whitehall and Bordon.

Updating Hampshire County Council’s health and adult social care select committee, the NHS acknowledged that “people care passionately about the retention of local services”. Fears were compounded when East Hampshire District Council’s (EHDC) portfolio holder for Whitehill and Bordon, Ferris Cowper, said Chase Hospital’s closure was inevitable, claiming that the town can “replace it” with services provided in the proposed new health hub.

Mr Cowper said at the time: “EHDC with NHS partners, as well as private commercial healthcare providers, is well advanced with plans for the new Health Hub but to put together the whole scheme will take some time. The planning application for the GP and supporting ancillary services, is expected in January.”