Building work on a new £7.8 million hospital for Harborough will start on Monday, after years - in fact, decades - of delays and disappointment.
A ground-breaking ceremony for the St Luke’s Hospital ‘Integrated Health Hub’ on Leicester Road, Market Harborough, will take place at 10am on Monday.
The event will be attended by representatives from the NHS and from the recently-appointed building contractor, Morgan Sindall.
The new hospital comes after 28 years of campaigning, and a succession of delays so frustrating that Harborough MP Sir Edward Garnier said the scheme was “blighted by incompetence” and Harborough campaigner Cllr Phil Knowles said it was “frankly unbelievable ... a complete mess”.
When the campaign for a new hospital in Market Harborough began, the Channel Tunnel was also just a plan. The Channel Tunnel, however, opened more than 20 years ago. The build-up to next week’s start date was so long and torturous that even Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, was asked to look into what was going on with the hospital plan in Market Harborough.
This week Cllr Knowles said: “Finally, after 28 years of very hard campaigning, we’re moving in the right direction at last. I’m absolutely delighted.”
David Sharp, director of commissioning operations for NHS England (Central Midlands), has said: “I am delighted that this significant investment is finally getting off the drawing board.”
As disbelieving Harborough motorists drove past the site “just to check”, it seemed preparations really were under way, with site huts being craned into position.
Harborough’s new health service hub will be home to a variety of medical services.
These include mental health services; GP services including minor injuries; specialist radiography and ultrasound services; outpatients facilities for rehabilitation, speech and language; ear, nose and throat and eye specialists, and, says the NHS, a number of other specialist services.