A NEW surgical building is essential for the development of Musgrove Park.

The hospital is rightly held in high esteem by local residents because of the good quality of patient treatment and care.

The recently completed Beacon Centre has made a big difference to Musgrove Park by transforming the service provided for cancer sufferers and their families.

The crucial next step is to replace most of the old building with a surgical new build. The hospital staff manage as well as they can in the old building but it is clearly well beyond its sell-by date. Patients in Taunton Deane deserve better than make-shift wards built during the Second World War.

If Musgrove Park is unable to develop a new surgical building the danger is that the hospital will eventually be downgraded. It will then be less able to provide a comprehensive service for local people.

The credit crunch and massive government debt are making it much harder to fund new hospital buildings. There will be difficult choices to make and my belief is that the funding of improved patient treatments and care should come first. Musgrove Park has a plan in place for a new surgical building and it is essential that this project goes ahead.

I hope local residents will get behind the development of the surgical new build in the same way as everyone supported the Beacon Centre. It is my biggest priority for Musgrove Park for the next five years.