BUILD a completely new hospital at St Clare is the suggestion of a prospective MP as talks about the future of the key Penzance site begin.
A first consultation event took place last week to consider possible future development on the site which includes the Cornwall Council One-Stop offices, the former council nursery and greenhouses and the currently unused all-weather pitch.
The site is considered suitable for a mix of uses, including residential, office, leisure, community, and health facilities and, while the Grade II Listed York House must be retained, piecemeal additions are not necessarily considered not worthy of retention.
Derek Thomas, the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for the St Ives constituency, says the site provides an ideal opportunity to consider a new hospital, including a critical illness diagnostic centre and post- operative recovery unit.
"There is clearly a pressing need for a new diagnostic and recovery centre locally," he said.
"I can fully accept that you may have to travel to receive specialist care for certain conditions but at the moment too many people are having to travel and to wait longer than they should to be diagnosed and patients should be near their families as they recover.
"Medical care is advancing and our population increasing. We must grapple with how we deliver healthcare in an ambitious and radical way.
"I would like to see a new West Cornwall Hospital that does not have the restraints of an aged, landlocked building."
Mr Thomas has asked for an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State for Health on the matter and is contacting local health professionals, the Hospitals Trust and the council to begin an exploratory dialogue.
He suggests that a new build at St Clare could also include services and in-patient facilities formerly provided at Poltair and doctors' surgeries while it would free up the current hospital site for housing at a more suitable site close to the town centre.
"Before this site goes forever, I want to make sure that we have looked carefully at the possibility of moving the hospital," he added.
"Cornwall Council is open-minded to it being used for whatever works for the local area. I recognise that this idea presents a huge challenge not least because of the sheer cost of such a scheme but if we get this right it will improve services and facilities for decades to come."