Major development for Wirral hospital to go before council planners

Proposals for a multi-million pound transformation of St Catherine's Community Hospital in Birkenhead have been earmarked for approval.

The scheme was first mooted last summer and, after lengthy consultation, is now ready to be studied by Wirral Council planning committee.

In July of last year, Wirral Primary Care Trust launched a 12-week consultation exercise to seek the views of the public, patients, partners and staff on its plans to build a new community hospital, fit for the 21st century.

Constructed at a cost of £28 million, the new medical centre would provide a new home for clinical services currently housed in outdated Victorian buildings on the Church Road site.

It would also enable local people to access a range of new services including outpatient clinics, minor and day case surgery facilities, X-rays and other tests, and health and lifestyle advice closer to where they live.

The proposals involve building a new community hospital on what is currently the site's main car park.

Once completed, clinical services now housed in Victorian buildings would relocate there and the buildings would then be demolished making way for a new car park.

If all went to plan, the new community hospital would open its doors in 2011.

The scheme already has the support of Frank Field, MP for Birkenhead, who said last year: "I very much welcome the proposed development at St Catherine's.

"This would not only improve health services for my constituents that live downtown, but also bring in first class services and modern buildings that will benefit the whole of Wirral. This development shows a proper commitment from the PCT on how best to maximise the value of the St Catherine's site."

The scheme is recommended for approval by officers and will be studied by planning councillors on September 10.