Published: 09:01, 16 December 2016
St Bartholomew’s Hospital in Rochester is to be sold for redevelopment but parts of the building including the mortuary will be retained.
St Bart’s, as it is known locally, was founded in 1078 for the care of the poor and lepers. Before it closed in September, it was Britain’s oldest surviving hospital.
It was most recently used for specialist rehabilitation services for patients who had a stroke, a fall or major surgery, providing physiotherapy, occupational therapy and nursing care to help people get back on their feet.
The building in New Road dates back to 1861 and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which ran the services on the site, said it was no longer suitable for the services it provided and they would be moved to “better equipped locations”.
The closure was announced in January and services moved to other locations in September, leaving the building empty.
It has been now been confirmed that it will be sold off for redevelopment. But parts of the old hospital are listed, so they will have to remain, whatever the future of the site.
Caroline Selkirk, from Medway CCG, said: “NHS Property Services is now managing the disposal of the site and is committed to securing the best value on behalf of the NHS and the taxpayer.
“As the site is in a conservation zone any new development will need to preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the area.
“The site will be offered for sale with the main hospital block to be retained and as the mortuary building is already listed, this will ensure all ‘built in’ historical items – such as stone plaques – are protected.”
She added: “The future use of the building is not with the CCG’s remit, however we understand that NHS Property Services are currently working on a pre-planning application and will be discussing initial proposals with the local planning authority, Medway Council, in the New Year.”
St Bart’s had been providing specialist rehabilitation since 1998 which is when all acute services transferred to Medway Maritime Hospital.