THE decision not to retain the Lambert Hospital for community healthcare services is a real blow to the town.

Thirsk doctors’ surgeries are already bursting at the seams and the town is rapidly expanding with new developments bringing in hundreds of new residents and, therefore, hundreds of new patients.

The Lambert building is already ideally placed to serve as a community healthcare hub.

And given that it was once a fully-functioning hospital, one would not think it would be too difficult to convert it into a health centre without spending ridiculous amounts of money.

Surely it would be cheaper to convert the Lambert than to build a new centre from scratch, which is presumably what will have to be done down the line when Thirsk’s existing surgeries can no longer cope with the town’s population growth.

A brave battle was fought by the hospital’s Friends group, the town’s MPs and councillors to keep the building for future community health purposes.

And although some have pledged to keep up the fight, it is difficult to see any other outcome than the Lambert being sold to the highest bidder.

To do anything else would be an admission on the part of the decision-makers that they were wrong all along and that the people who live in Thirsk are the ones who should be listened to when it comes to deciding on the future of such a potentially valuable healthcare asset.

Sadly it is looking like the days of any small town having its own hospital are numbered as the focus is put on large regional hubs and it seems the Lambert is yet another victim.