A MAJOR care home operator has expressed interest in working with the health service on a new Malvern hospital.

Property adviser GVA Grimley has written to Worc-estershire Community and Mental Health NHS Trust on behalf of an unnamed client looking to build a nursing home in the Malvern area and inquiring about the possibilities of partnership.

The client is said to be a "substantial blue-chip care home operator with a turnover in excess of £70 million".

The letter, which specifically names the favoured hospital site at Seaford Court, Malvern Link, says the operator is looking for a half to one-acre site in the town.

The new hospital project is likely to involve finance or partnership with the private sector, and several expressions of interest have already been received.

However, a leading Malvern doctor has questioned whether Seaford Court is a big enough site to house the new hospital.

Dr David Payler, chairman of Malvern Primary Care Group, is a member of the project team producing an outline business case for the new hospital.

He wants the team to look at all the possibilities, including alternatives to Seaford Court, bought as a site for a new hospital 20 years ago.

He said: "There is probably a 70-80 per cent chance that the new hospital will be on Seaford Court, but we have to consider everything."

It has already been suggested the Victoria Park health centre may be incorporated into a new hospital development.

Other surgeries could be part of the plan, both Avenue Road and Court Road have been looking to expand on new sites.

"If those surgeries were to be incorporated into a hospital, the people of Barnards Green would understandably be aggrieved at having to go all the way over to Malvern Link to see a doctor," said Dr Payler, "So the case is there for looking for a more central site."

Dr Payler said it was also hoped to include a number of new services into the hospital, such as a nurse-led minor injuries clinic, day case surgery and visiting clinical services.

"It may be that Seaford Court will end up being not large enough for the whole thing," he said.