A DATE has been set for Essex County Hospital (ECH) in Colchester to close its doors for the final time.

The last patient will be seen at the ageing Lexden Road building on Friday November 30.

The hospital is nearly 200 years-old and is no longer fit to serve as a modern health care facility.

Over the last four years, services it has run have gradually been moved off the site and to either Colchester Hospital or the Primary Care Centre (PCC) in Turner Road.

The Primary Care Centre is also undergoing a £6.4million redevelopment and this is due to be completed on November 9.

Essex County Hospital has long been a cherished community asset, celebrated in an eight-page supplement by the Daily Gazette earlier this year.

Countless patients will have been treated there and thousands of nurses, doctors, porters and cleaners have worked there.

Its buildings also reveal how the site evolved as healthcare advanced, including the radiotherapy department built in 1964.

Paul Fenton, the hospital trust's director of estates, said: “We know Essex County Hospital is held dear in the hearts of so many people in the town, but it is no longer fit for purpose and we want to do better for the communities we serve.

“The improved facilities at the PCC will have a knock-on effect on patient experience and provide a more modern environment for our staff to work in.”

The hospital trust will hand over the 4.5 acre site to Essex Housing, who are set to build 100 homes on the land, by Christmas.

Opthalmic services at ECH will end on November 22 and relaunch at the PCC on November 28.

On November 29, the last Oral Surgery patient will be seen at ECH and this service will relaunch at the PCC on December 3.

On November 30, the last patient will be seen at ECH.

Ear Nose and Throat and Audiology services will launch at the PCC on December 4.

Wheelchair Services will move to Clacton Hospital on Wednesday October 31 where the team will be based on Durban Ward from November 2.

All other non-clinical and support services will transfer to Colchester Hospital by November 30.

Patients will be informed about new contact telephone numbers, which are changing for all departments, and maps of the PCC will be provided.

Volunteers will also be on hand to help people find their way to appointments in the new building and use the self-check-in machines.