STRUCTURE: Proposals to close a hospital and redevelop the entire site as an older people’s village have been ditched after overwhelming public opposition, despite potential savings of £1.5m a year.

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Foundation Trust set out two options for its Christchurch Hospital site, which will have no inpatient beds once plans to move out stroke and orthopaedic rehabilitation services are completed.

Under the chosen option existing outpatient services, including the day hospital, phlebotomy, dermatology, X-ray and ultrasound, would remain on site, as would the hospital’s palliative care unit. It is estimated they would fit into about half of the hospital, leaving the rest of the site to be redeveloped as a small older people’s village with a nursing home and GP surgery.

Under the rejected option all services would have been re-located, mainly to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital less than three miles away, and the whole site redeveloped as an older people’s village with a GP practice, NHS dentist, pharmacy, a nursing home and assisted living accommodation. A phlebotomy service and the palliative care unit would have remained on site.

The trust launched the consultation after efforts to find a partner from the public or private sector to move into the building and share overheads failed. It estimated the second option would have saved £1m-£1.5m a year more than the first option and warned that savings would have to be found from elsewhere if the public preferred the other option.

The trust needs to make £30m recurrent savings over the next three years, equivalent to a 15 per cent reduction in running costs.

However, after 98.5 per cent of the 2,142 respondents to the consultation voted in favour of option one the trust abandoned plans to close the hospital.

A trust spokesman said: “After a significant 12 week public consultation exercise with many health partners and members of the public, there was overwhelming feedback for option one (over 98 per cent), which would retain services at Christchurch Hospital.

“The trust has a very strong track record of delivering savings. [Our financial position] puts us in a position to consider both options.”