THE future of Bootham Park Hospital looks uncertain after health commissioners said they may be able to demolish and rebuild sections of it.

It was stated in April that Bootham Park Hospital would have to be replaced after Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors said it was no longer adequate for modern mental health care.

Patients were due to move out of Bootham in to Peppermill Court, off Huntington Road, and Cherry Tree House in Tang Hall as an interim measure - a suggestion understood to have caused concern among staff.

Now discussions with English Heritage have indicated newer parts of the Grade I-listed Bootham Park Hospital could be pulled down or altered to allow the building to be made suitable for modern health care needs. It had originally been thought planning rules would prevent this.

Other possibilities also being considered include building a new mental health hospital on land owned by The Retreat, City of York Council's health overview and scrutiny committee has been told.

Dr Mark Hayes, the chief clinical officer for Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, told the meeting that English Heritage were keen the building continued to be used for health care.

While he admitted the current situation was "not ideal", Dr Hayes said: "In the medium term you will have a new facility which is something we have been talking about in the city for quite some time."

Meanwhile, inpatients at Lime Trees – a mental health unit for children and young people also found to be unsuitable by inspectors - are to move into Mill Lodge in Huntington Road within the next six months in a move which may be permanent.

While the empty elderly people's unit has been modernised in recent times, some £1 million in total is likely to be required from NHS England to make suitable for young patients, the meeting heard.

Cllr Julie Gunnell said in response: "I'm pleased that if Lime Trees is not fit for purpose, that action is going ahead to address this."

Other services for children and young people will remain at the current Lime Trees site.