THE Forest Community Hospital will have a new x-ray machine, it has been revealed.

It’s a double boost for patients as the option – transferring the current from Lydney Hospital – would have meant a period of some 14 weeks without the facility in the district.

A spokeswoman for NHS Gloucestershire said: “We had previously planned to move the existing x-ray machine from Lydney Hospital to the new hospital, meaning there would be a disruption to X ray services.

“However, having now agreed funding, we are in conversation with potential suppliers about installing a new machine, which should provide a smoother transition for X ray services in the Forest.”

Angela Potter, who is leading the hospital development for the Gloucestershire Health and Care Trust, told a recent Forest Health Forum meeting that patients needing an x-ray would have to Gloucester or Tewkesbury while the new facility was commissioned – and she said that could take up to 14 weeks if the machine was transferred from Lydney.

The NHS has also officially notified the Forest Council that they will first sell off most of Lydney Hospital followed by The Dilke in Cinderford at a later date.

The Stonebury House department of Lydney Hospital will be retained as a base for health visitors and other teams.

It had been originally planned to sell Stonebury at the same time as the rest of the hospital site and move the health visitors to the proposed new Lydney Health Centre planned for the former Co-op supermarket building in the town centre.

But with uncertainty surrounding the health centre proposals, the health visitors will remain at Stonebury for the foreseeable future.

Lydney Hospital will be marketed by property consultants Alder King but the sales process will have to take account of the fact that both hospitals are registered as Assets of Community Value.

This means that they have recently been used and could be used in the future to further the social well-being or social interests of the local community.

Community groups who wish to buy the sites, or any part of them, will have six weeks to prepare an initial bid.

The NHS Gloucestershire spokeswoman added: “As an NHS organisation we must follow strict guidelines while disposing of sites that have become surplus to requirements.

“This includes generating best value – both financial and social – so that any capital can be invested in enhancing patient care while releasing public land for new use.”