Just over one third of the£750m announced in 2006 to modernise community hospitals has now been allocated, the Department of Health has said.

The£750m was due to be spent over five years on either building new community hospitals or super surgeries, or renovating old ones. It followed the 2006 health white paper on bringing care closer to home. So far, 23 schemes with a total value of£272 million have been approved, with more still under consideration.

Nine newly successful bids were announced this week. They included eight bids from primary care trusts to update existing facilities and one bid from Hartlepool PCT for a new£3m GP walk-in centre and minor injury clinic.

Earlier this year there was speculation that the DoH was pulling back from its commitment to expand the number of community hospitals and would not allocate the full£750m.

But announcing the nine new schemes this week health minister Ben Bradshaw said: ‘Community hospitals are an important part of the NHS… We are not just building like-for-like replacements of existing buildings, we are re-thinking the way the NHS provides care so that patients receive better, more convenient services.’