HEALTH boss Richard Sandford-Hill this week pledged that Devizes will get an urgent care centre even if the NHS refuses to pay for the much heralded new complex in Marshall Road.

Dr Sandford-Hill, who is chairman of the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and a GP in Market Lavington, said: "Devizes has to have a GP-led medical space. It has got to happen. I am 100 per cent committed to this and will work tirelessly to make it happen."

But he did admit that his confidence in getting the £9 million needed to build the centre next to the NHS Treatment Centre had been knocked by NHS England Funding constantly refusing to commit money to the project and changing the goal posts for funding.

He has promised not to allow a central body to get its hands on money generated by the sale of Devizes Community Hospital or the housing land next to the proposed urgent care centre until it keeps up its end of the bargain.

He said: "Yes if you like we are holding them to ransom. But we will not say that Devizes Community Hospital is surplus to our requirements until we get the money for the centre and it is built."

But he says that even with money generated by the sale of the old hospital and the land for 50 homes in Marshall Road the scheme will still need to find around an extra £1 million.

Since the scheme was first put forward in 2015 the cost of building the centre have gone up from between £5million and £6 million to £8million to £9million."

Dr Sandford-Hill is losing patience with the NHS England Funding and says that if does not fully commit within the next few months then the clinical commissioning group would have to look at other options.

The plans include GPs in the Devizes area helping to fund the centre themselves. He said: "It would be possible for the GPs to come up with the money, find a piece of land and put in a planning application. Not having a central place for services is not an option. Devizes is the fourth worse off town for GP led services in the whole county."

He said Wiltshire Council and Devizes MP Claire Perry were fully supportive and Ms Perry had raised the issue with health secretary Jeremy Hunt.