MODERNISATION of North Devon District Hospital, which was identified as a priority investment for government funding four years ago, is the subject of an open day next month, to which local residents are being encouraged to attend.

NDDH in Barnstaple was one of 40 hospitals in the government’s New Hospital Programme and is the most remote acute hospital in mainland England.  

Many of its buildings are more than 50 years old.

At a recent meeting of the healthcare trust board, a senior doctor admitted there is a lot of work to bring it up to modern standards.

The chief executive officer of the organisation that runs the hospital, the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Sam Higginson, said staff want improvements as soon as possible, and that the hospital will still be a priority for any new government after the general election.

Work will include new on-site staff accommodation, a new block for acute care services and the refurbishment of the main tower for all future in-patient ward-based accommodation.

The open day on Friday, July 12 will see the formal launch of a programme called Our Future Hospital (OFH) under which construction a new administration facility is under way.

Trust leaders and clinicians will give talks, and site tours will allow visitors to learn about the areas of the hospital is upgrading.

Guests can also visit exhibition stands from local organisations and will have the opportunity to share experiences, stories, and memories of North Devon District Hospital.

By Alison Stephenson