EAST Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has taken ownership of the new £7.5m Clitheroe Community Hospital.

The handover was completed on Monday after the project had been managed from the start by NHS Property Services Ltd.

The installation of equipment and stocking of the new building in Chatburn Road adjacent to the existing hospital will now begin in preparation for the first patients to move across from existing wards and clinics in the week commencing Monday, May 19.

Jim Birrell, interim chief executive at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to now have ownership of this state-of-the-art hospital which will help transform healthcare for people in and around Clitheroe.

"This new development is providing a long awaited new 32-bed, in-patient facility with all the supporting infrastructure needed for a 21st century hospital.”

Work officially started on the two-storey, 4,050 square metre scheme in February 2013 and an official opening is planned for June 2014.