Health bosses today hailed the re-opening of Rossall Hospital as a huge success – and hinted for the first time the temporary arrangement could continue.
Almost 100 patients have passed through the doors of the facility in the past three months, since it was brought back into use to provide winter overflow cover for Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
But while many expected the hospital would close again – for the second time in a year – after winter, talks over its long-term future are ongoing.
And Spiral Health, which currently runs the nurse-led services at Rossall Hospital, has revealed it will stay on for the time being while negotiations over extending its stay further take place. Managing director Tracey Bush said the current set-up has been well-received by patients in Fleetwood.
She said: “It is a fantastic building and environment for what we do. People are coming to us straight from hospital before going home. They have been discharged from consultant support.
“But we are not just looking at patients’ conditions - we are looking at psychological and holistic care. It’s about getting to know the person.
“The patient feedback we have had has been phenomenal.”
And after months of uncertainty over the future of health services in Fleetwood, the decision to keep Rossall Hospital open for now has been praised.
The building was closed in August, despite widespread protests from residents, after rehabilitation services were moved to Clifton Hospital, in St Annes.
Fleetwood was then promised 20 nurse-led rehabilitation beds, although a decision has yet to be made over where they will go.
At the time, Rossall was put forward as a possible location but health chiefs have since said it will be a choice between Fleetwood Hospital and the Dock Street health centre.
Fleetwood Town Council chairman Alan Marsh said: “My understanding is Rossall was opened on a temporary basis but I hope it continues. It is a superb place and well-run. It made no sense to us when it was closed.”
Ms Bush said: “We have nurses 24 hours a day supporting them and we have a Fleetwood GP who comes in to help us. We have got 23 or 24 people at Rossall, which is good for employment in Fleetwood because the majority are from the local area. We just know what we do works and it works really well.”
The company employs around 100 people across its sites at Rossall and Bispham, which it has run since April 2012.
Spiral said it was unable to comment on ongoing discussions over the future of the site, except to confirm that it would be “business as usual” until a decision has been reached.