Published: 10:30, 25 February 2016
The oldest existing hospital in England, St Bartholomew’s in Rochester, is to close.
The hospital, known locally as St Bart’s, was founded in 1078 for the care of the poor and lepers.
Today it is a nurse-led hospital run by Medway Community Health Care, providing specialist rehabilitation to people living in Medway and Swale.
It looks after patients who have had a stroke, a fall or major surgery and provides physiotherapy, occupational therapy and nursing care to help them to recover and return home to live as independently as possible.
But the current hospital building dates back to 1861 and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who commission the services, said it is no longer suitable. The site is owned by NHS Property Services.
All the services will be moving to other locations within Medway. Stroke rehabilitation will move in September. No date has yet been set for the relocation of other services, but it will be some time this year.
“The current building does not meet the requirements of modern intermediate care and rehabilitation services" - Medway CCG spokesperson
A spokesperson from Medway CCG said: “As part of our ongoing efforts to provide high quality healthcare, we plan that the services currently being provided from St Bartholomew’s Hospital will be re-provided in more suitable premises in 2016.
“The current building does not meet the requirements of modern intermediate care and rehabilitation services.
“Stroke rehabilitation services currently provided at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in Rochester will move to a better-equipped location within Medway from September 2016, and we are working closely with Medway Community Healthcare, who provide these services, to identify the most suitable locations and to ensure a smooth transition for patients.
“We are also in the process of procuring the provision of reablement and rehabilitation services and expect these to move from Bart’s as part of that process.
“No funding is being cut in these services and no services will move outside of Medway – our intention is to improve the quality of service provided and to ensure a better patient experience.”
St Bart’s has been providing specialist rehabilitation since 1998 which is when all acute services transferred to Medway Maritime Hospital.