The much-delayed revamp of St Luke’s Hospital in Market Harborough will not be ready until summer 2016 – a hold-up of another four months.
The further delay was revealed by Dr David Sharp, a director for NHS England in Leicstershire, when he addressed the community leadership scrutiny panel of Harborugh District Council on Thursday.
He was speaking on behalf of NHS England, NHS Property Services and the East Leicstershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group.
He said: “Construction is now due to finish in April/May 2016. There will then be six-to-eight weeks for fitting out.
“We estimate that the formal opening will be in June/July 2016 if there are no unforeseen delays such as external providers connecting utilities or commissioning phone lines, which are outside our control.”
The last statement on the revamp’s timescale, which was made last June, said the hospital would be open by February 2016.
Dr Sharp added: “As we all recognise, this project has a long history but we must not lose sight of the fact it forms the biggest investment in planed care in the county.”
District councillor Phil Knowles, who has been campaigning for a new hospital for 20 years, said: “’Sadly the comments are devoid of an apology from local NHS bosses for yet another delay. We were already aware of the delay but only because I had meetings with senior national NHS executives in Cambridge.
“At the very least, the local NHS could have given some indication as to why they adhered to the line locally of ‘it’s all on time’ when it is in delay yet again.”
Dr Sharp went on to reiterate the plan for the war memorial portico at the Cottage Hospital – ensuring the new owners of the site will be made responsible for it under a condition of sale.
Cllr Knowles said: “I have asked NHS bosses to support residents in getting the funding for re-homing and securing the memorial’s future put back into the budget – this rather than the poor plan we are left with.
“Passing the responsibility for this memorial to the new owners seems to ignore the request to support the residents.
“The NHS seem happy to be involved in chatting about where the memorial could be re-homed. They seem happy to repeat that they want to see it protected.
“What they don’t seem to want to do is accept financial responsibility.
“I would urge them to rethink this.’’