Acute hospital services in Colchester will be brought together on the same site for the first time next year with the opening of a £6.4m development.
Work has begun on a project which will enable the majority of clinical services still provided at Essex County Hospital to transfer to Colchester Primary Care Centre (PCC).
The nine-month programme at the PCC is a key part of the overall plan to transfer all services off the Lexden Road site, which opened almost 200 years ago.
The PCC is a modern health facility that was opened in 2006 as part of the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) public private partnership programme. The £6.4m investment will convert its first and second floors, which are currently mainly devoted to office accommodation, into a base for clinical services.
Once the work has been completed, most services still provided at Essex County Hospital will be relocated to the PCC, which is in Turner Road next to Colchester General Hospital.
Nick Hulme, Chief Executive of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said Essex County Hospital would close for good in the summer of next year.
“Essex County Hospital is a much-loved facility that has served the population of Colchester and the surrounding area with distinction for almost two centuries,” he said.
“However, the site has been developed in a piecemeal way over the years and is a hotch-potch of buildings, both old and new, whereas the Primary Care Centre is a far superior setting from which to provide modern health care under one roof.
“Being next to Colchester General Hospital, it is part of a health campus which is far more efficient than having separate sites two miles apart.”