A BIG boost for Haslemere Hospital has been welcomed by supporters fearful for its future.

A £9million investment in adult community care just announced by Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will see more nurses and other staff recruited and a proactive care hub created, clinically led by a dedicated geriatrician, GP specialist and nurse practitioner.

The plans developed in partnership with Procare federation of local GPs, also include the introduction of a specialist team in the Royal Surrey’s Emergency Department to identify frail and elderly patients who are suitable for care in Haslemere.

Haslemere and other community hospitals will see their falling bed numbers returned to the 50 commissioned by Guildford and Waverley Clinical Care Commissioning Group.

A seven day acute frailty service will also be developed and work has already started to deliver the scheme before peak winter demand.

The move will ease pressure on Royal Surrey’s overloaded A & E, which is dealing with double the national increase in demand – a rise of 15.4 per cent compared to 6.9 per cent.

Adult community health services director Mandy Sambrook said: “This highlights the importance of Haslemere Hospital for years to come.

“Our community hospitals are a key part of this plan and the trust has recently invested £30,000 in new x-ray equipment at Haslemere Hospital. We are also looking at how we can make better use of the site by basing other teams and services there.”

Haslemere League of Friends (LoF) chairman Rose Parry said: “We are delighted that the trust are investing in adult community services and replacing the x-ray equipment.

“For so many years the providers have taken money out to meet their financial targets. The requirements of health care in the community change very rapidly and services need to be invested in and prepared for this.

“The full range of services at Haslemere Hospital are extremely important to us as we want as many people as possible to be treated locally and are working with the trust to enhance outpatients, inpatients and diagnostics to support this.

“Despite the challenges of recruiting GPs, the Haslemere practice have developed a role for supporting the direct admissions, rehabilitation and reablement beds in the hospital.

“This model provides continuity of care for patients and a supported foundation position for doctors whose longer term wish is to go into general practice.”