A HEALTH group has been accused of a “moral dereliction of duty” over the sale of a former hospital that residents were led to believe would be turned into a community care hub.

The former Lambert Hospital in Thirsk is being advertised for sale for £400,000 with designs in place to convert it into apartments.

The move has sparked outrage among residents and local doctors who were led to believe by the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group that the building would be retained for future health care purposes.

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The suggestion came during the consultation process which led to the official closure of the hospital in November last year on the back of a temporary closure the previous year due to an inability to staff the facility.

County council deputy leader Cllr Gareth Dadd,said: “It is a moral dereliction of duty.

“Right through that sorry consultation process we were led to believe there was always a strong possibility that the Lambert Hospital could be retained for health care for the community needs of Thirsk.

“It seems the CCG and the NHS Property Services have no regard to its history and to its strategic position within the centre of the town and seem intent on just disposing of an asset that is worth far more that its monetary value.”

Retired local GP John Garside said Thirsk was in desperate need of more space for health facilities given its growing population.

He said the defunct hospital occupied a prime site for health care, being adjacent to an existing medical centre, pharmacy and close to the town centre.

He said: “We were sold this tale that it would be used for some form of nursing service and community health hub. But what we are now seeing is a valuable site for healthcare being sold from under our feet. Legally they can do it but morally it just seems wrong.”

CCG chief officer Janet Probert said they had worked with local GPs on the feasibility of new premises in Thirsk and the Lambert site was considered.

However she added: “The study concluded the development of primary care estate on the Lambert Hospital site did not offer value for money and therefore would not be affordable. The CCG is disappointed this particular option cannot be pursued.”

She said the building had now been declared surplus to requirements by both the CCG and NHS England.

“Proceeds from the sale will be reinvested in NHS Estate. Although not ring-fenced locally there is a process for capital investment to be drawn down via a formal business case process.”