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Wiltshire PCT has not submitted a bid to the community hospital fund, but it has been in discussions with the strategic health authority about its bid for
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capital improvements at Chippenham, and there are other funding streams that it can use to bid for funding. For 2008-09, we are changing the way in which capital allocations are made to PCTs. The Department will no longer make formula-based, top-down allocations of capital to fund PCTs’ local investment priorities. Instead, PCT capital allocations will be determined by robust and realistic bottom-up expenditure plans submitted by individual PCTs and agreed with their SHAs. That process has already begun, and will be refined over the coming weeks to give maximum flexibility according to local NHS needs over a three-year cycle.

The fact that Wiltshire PCT is looking at making major capital investments on the Chippenham site should reassure the hon. Gentleman and his constituents that Chippenham hospital has a secure future. It will continue to provide stroke services for Wiltshire and, in future, it will be the main base for community maternity services
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for north and west Wilshire. There will continue to be the minor injury unit, out-patient consultant clinics, assessment clinics, and X-ray and other diagnostic services, in addition to the therapy services and mental health services that are provided at the site. The hospital is the base for many of the community teams working in the area, including the neighbourhood team for Chippenham, health visiting, school nursing and social services. The GP out-of-hours service uses the hospital on weekday evenings and at weekends to provide local access to urgent primary care advice and treatment. I hope that I have been able to go some way towards reassuring the hon. Gentleman that his hospital has a very good future indeed.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at twenty-three minutes to Midnight.

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