WORK has started on a £1million revamp of Fordingbridge Hospital.

The refurbishment works, which will see the hospital’s Ford Ward close for almost seven weeks, will include new heating, water, phone and IT systems.

The Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust said the outpatients’ department at the hospital would be “largely unaffected”.

Some of the hospital’s physiotherapy, orthopaedic and occupational therapy services will move to nearby sites.

Staff from the hospital will treat patients at Bournemouth and Salisbury hospitals, and in other community hospitals in the area during the work. The trust is working with SHIP NHS Cluster to modernise the site.

A spokesman said: “A huge amount of preparation has gone into the plans for the hospital which will mean new heating and water systems, phone and IT systems, a new kitchen, patio area, and improvements to parking, the day room, dining area and reception and waiting rooms.

“During this time, parking on site will be very restricted. We are asking patients, relatives and staff to be considerate when parking on the site and make use of the local nearby car parks as much as possible.

“When the most intensive part of the work takes places we will need to close Ford ward (inpatients) for around four weeks. This will happen in mid August and will be fully reopened by the end of September.

“We have worked extremely closely with our builders to ensure this time is kept to a minimum and have carried out some very careful planning around the works.

“We need to put the patients first and the noise and disruption during this period would not be pleasant for the patients or helpful to their recovery process.”

Work is due to be completed by October 15.

Tracey Aldin from Southern Health manages the Ford Ward at the hospital. She said: “It’s really exciting and a bit daunting when you consider the work that’s being done.

“We will have to close the ward for a short time while that goes on, but we have put in excellent plans to care for people while that happens. We always put the patient first and we will continue to do that during this period of change, but looking at the great new facilities we’ll have the inconvenience is well worth it.”