VICTORIA Infirmary faces an uncertain future with the site hit by subsidence – but health bosses say they are looking to ‘enhance’ their facilities in Northwich.

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, believes renovating the Winnington Hill site would be costly.

It is considering moving services to a regenerated Weaver Square, and although there are currently no plans to close the infirmary completely, the trust admits it could close its doors if it can provide services at ‘better facilities in Northwich’.

A spokesman at the trust said: “Although current patient areas of Victoria Infirmary are safe and fit for purpose, an area of the site is not suitable to deliver modern healthcare.

“Due to the possible undermining for salt extraction and the adjacent location of a freight railway line, Victoria Infirmary also suffers from subsidence.

“Taking all of this into account, the maintenance requirements at Victoria Infirmary equate to a significant amount of money and would need to be considered alongside any future investments.”

The trust’s comments come after John Church, deputy chairman, told the board of directors last week that ‘issues’ at Victoria Infirmary had been discussed with the hospital’s governors – along with the ‘potential for development elsewhere within Northwich’.

He added: “It’s not really cost-effective to invest a lot of money into that site.”

Two inpatient wards were closed at Victoria Infirmary in 2010 after failing an electrical test, and significant repair work would be required to bring the area back into use.

The trust says that those wards would now be unsuitable ‘to deliver modern healthcare’ as they could not accommodate modern patient hoists, while because the areas were mixed-sex and had no separate toilet facilities, they could cause ‘privacy and dignity concerns’.

Cheshire West and Chester Council unveiled its masterplan for regeneration at Weaver Square in May, with a public services hub being one of the council’s biggest ideas for the site.

“It is possible that health services could be included in this hub, but there would need to be a full public consultation if a credible plan for any co-location could be developed,” the trust’s spokesman said.

“Regardless, patient safety is our utmost priority and we intend to enhance the trust’s facilities in Northwich.”

The spokesman added that a public services hub could include some or all of the current services offered at Victoria Infirmary.

But plans for relocation are only just being discussed at the trust, which says that a full public consultation would take place ‘if a credible plan is put together that may result in improved care and treatment’ for Northwich residents.

“There are no current plans [to close Victoria Infirmary] unless, with the support of staff, patients and the public, services could be provided in better facilities in Northwich,” the trust added.