Further development plans for Newmarket Community Hospital have been halted after an application for financial backing was rejected.

The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust requested funds to add an orthopaedic unit consisting of a 32-bed inpatient ward and operating theatres to the site.

However, in his report for the upcoming board meeting, chief executive Craig Black confirmed that the funding application had been "unsuccessful".

Mr Black said: "Having applied to secure financial backing for the further development of the Newmarket Community Hospital site, unfortunately, the Trust was not successful.

"Therefore, our plan to build a 32-bed inpatient ward and operating theatres will not be going ahead at this time."

Mr Black added that the board would continue to explore alternative funding opportunities for this project to "ensure the needs of local communities are met".

Though the funding application has been denied, planning approval was initially granted by West Suffolk Council in December 2021.

The two-storey building at the site in Exning Road currently has no dedicated operating theatres, meaning emergency and planned operations are sent to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds - half an hour away.

The planning statement said: "The requirement for Newmarket to have its own laminar flow theatres and recovery suites will greatly benefit the local community by giving a more local site to the immediate catchment and also benefit other Suffolk patients by relieving some of the pressure on the Bury St Edmunds site."

The Trust is still awaiting a planning decision on its plans for a new £14.7 million Community Diagnostics Centre to be built next to Newmarket Community Hospital.

The proposals were backed by the Suffolk and North Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) in July and it is hoped that the final go-ahead will be given in October.

If approved, formal planning applications will be made and tenders signed in time for construction work to start next spring.

A spokesperson for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said developing the site remained a "strategic priority".

They said: “Unfortunately, the Trust’s recent application to secure financial backing to develop an elective surgical centre at the Newmarket Community Hospital inpatient ward was unsuccessful on this occasion.

“In addition, initial plans for a new Community Diagnostics Centre (CDC) at the site have been approved by the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, and have been submitted to NHS England and Improvement for funding consideration as part of the national CDC programme. If successful, this will help increase diagnostic capacity, reduce waiting times, and tackle health inequalities.”