LONG-term plans have been drawn up to secure a future for a Hampshire hospital that 40,000 campaigners fought to save.

The Fenwick Hospital in Lyndhurst is to be rebranded Fenwick 2 and become a permanent home to a chronic condition service.

Care for those reaching the end of their life and complementary medicine could also be provided at the hospital, in Pikes Hill, and health bosses say beds could be reintroduced in the future.

Diabetes and podiatry clinics, which began at the Fenwick in October, will continue.

Added to this will be outpatient services for people with asthma, heart conditions or needing stroke rehabilitation.

Tim Moran, head of patient and public involvement at Hampshire Primary Care Trust, said: "We are trying to find a new role for Fenwick.

"The aim is to set up new services to provide monitoring and care for people with long-term conditions. We want to keep them well and maintain their health.

"There will also be new services, like telehealthcare and possibly a complementary medicine and well-being care centre."

Telehealthcare will be for diabetes patients. They will be able to test their blood sugar levels at home and use a machine connected to the telephone line to communicate with the hospital.

George Dibben, chairman of the League of Hospital and Community Friends of Fenwick Hospital, said: "There was no money in the PCT budget for beds, so there are not going to be beds initially, but the option of reintroducing beds remains a possibility.

"One thing we are keeping in sight is the concept of trying to provide locally a dignified end-of-life facility so relatives don't have to drive all the way to Southampton."

It is great news for campaigners who were outraged when all 20 beds were closed in January 2005.

After NHS bosses announced plans to axe beds at the Fenwick and four other community hospitals in the New Forest and Romsey, the Daily Echo-backed Save Our Community Hospitals action group was formed.

The group marched at Fenwick and collected more than 40,000 signatures on a petition before health chiefs backed down and announced the hospitals would remain open.

A bid for £850,000 from the Department of Health is set to be made to pay for the refurbishment of the Fenwick.

The hospital will be run by a social enterprise partnership between Hampshire PCT, the League of Friends, New Forest District Council, Hampshire County Council and the SCA Group.