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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
Hospital buildings sale confirmed
Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone
The NHS trust said empty Victorian buildings were a waste of resources
A health trust has confirmed the sale of 19th Century hospital buildings but insists service levels will not change.

The announcement comes despite protests from a campaign group set up to protect the future of the Royal Victoria Hospital, in Folkestone, Kent.

East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust said it was wasting 1.2m a year on heating, lighting and cleaning the "almost entirely empty" buildings.

It promised savings would go into NHS services in Shepway and Folkestone.

The Save Our Royal Victoria Hospital campaign, led by the Liberal Democrat group in Shepway, had feared that outpatient services still operating in the Victorian buildings could not be accommodated in the hospital's other premises.

Open days

But the trust's director of facilities, Howard Jones, insisted: "No services are being removed from the Folkestone hospital, absolutely everything is staying.

"We're going to spend at least 2.5m there... we need to enhance its role as a local hospital offering a wide range of outpatient services."

Lynne Beaumont, leader of the Shepway Lib Dems, expressed particular concern over the Derry Unit, a urology facility in the older part of the hospital.

But Mr Jones said: "Our plans are to create a new Derry Unit on site in the new wing of the hospital."

He added that the proposal for the Victorian premises was to sell them off to a residential developer.

Open days explaining the plans are due to be held at the hospital at the end of June.


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