Long-awaited £5m hospital set to open doors in August

Bicester Advertiser: Bicester’s new community hospital. Picture: OX67409  Aimee Kirkham Buy this photo Bicester’s new community hospital. Picture: OX67409 Aimee Kirkham

BICESTER’S £5m replacement community hospital is on target to open in August.

Building work is at the final stage with just six weeks to go before the hospital, in Coker Close, is handed over to the health authority.

From early July, staff will start moving in equipment before the hospital opens its doors to patients.

It marks the culmination of a 20-year hard-fought campaign to keep the hospital.

The new two-storey building has 12 beds – eight ensuite single rooms and two two-person bays – and will include a first aid unit, ambulance base, X-ray, physiotherapy services and 51 parking spaces. GPs hope the range of services on offer will increase.

Project leader Richard Coe, right, senior development manager for developer Kajima, said the new hospital was almost double the size of the current one.

He said: “I hope when people see it open they will be very pleased with it.

“This is a modern community hospital that’s been designed for infection control and proper modern treatment of patients, so it will be light and airy but will feel like a hospital.

“What we are delivering has massive potential for different ways of working as it goes through its natural life.

“If you went into the old hospital and then went into the new hospital they are poles apart.”

Mr Coe warned that parking at the hospital would need to be “strictly controlled” because of the limited number of spaces.

He said previously commuters and shoppers had parked on the site.

Dr Stephen Attwood, a GP at Bicester Health Centre, said: “I am very happy to have the new hospital, it will be a fantastic facility.”

He would like to see more out-patient clinics and investigation work done at the new hospital, including ‘tele medicine’ clinics where patients have consultations with surgeons or consultants via TV conferencing.

Les Sibley, chairman of campaign group Save Our Community Hospital, said: “A lot of hard work in the past has now paid off.

“I feel proud of the fact we have got our new hospital.”

Construction started last June.

The building is environmentally-friendly and features rainwater harvesting, solar panels for hot water and heating, a solar chimney, natural lighting and ventilation. It used local materials, including Burford stone.

The two-decade campaign over the hospital including petitions, legal wrangles and debates in Parliament.

The old building in Kings End will be demolished to make way for 14 two- and three-bed homes.

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