Kettering General Hospital’s case for an Urgent Care Hub – and for major investment in both the hospital and in Northamptonshire - was highlighted to a Government Health Minister on Monday, October 7.
Health Minister Edward Argar MP visited the hospital this morning to see for himself some of the impact that aging NHS estate is having on patient care.
Kettering General Hospital has been named as receiving a share of £100 million of Government Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP2) seed funding to develop plans to replace ageing buildings and provide new health facilities.
Mr Argar spoke with hospital executives, clinicians, and a patient and toured the hospital’s A&E department, Middleton Assessment Unit and Maternity Unit – including its Labour Suite, bereavement room, Special Care Baby Unit, and Maple Ward.
After his visit Mr Argar said: “It was great to see the amazing work done by staff at Kettering General Hospital and to hear about the hospital’s need for more investment to make it fit for the future.
“I know the A&E department faces great challenges and that it was built for 40,000 patients a year but will see 100,000 this year.
“I know that 70% of its buildings are over 30 years old and that some have been on the site since it opened in 1897.
“I am pleased that the Government’s recently announced HIP2 funding will support 21 hospitals, including Kettering General, in developing their bids for major capital schemes.”
Mr Argar saw for himself the many issues facing KGH’s A&E department including being cramped, staff not having clear lines of sight for all patients, issues with privacy and dignity and facilities being expanded to the limit to cope with short term needs.
Kettering General Hospital’s Chief Executive, Simon Weldon, said: “I am delighted the Minister took the opportunity to visit Kettering General Hospital in order to see for himself the impact on patients, and their care, of an ageing estate that requires expansion - and in some parts a complete rebuild - to cope with current patient levels.
“Small-medium acute hospitals in areas of high population growth with a lack of capital/ cash reserves are reliant on central NHS funding for all estate work above keeping the lights on and the buildings heated.
“We particularly wanted him to see the pressure our urgent care and A&E facilities are under at a time when we are pursuing investment in an Urgent Care Hub for the site to improve emergency care for the people of North Northamptonshire.
“We also discussed more general issues of investment on our hospital site – which in places is more than 120 years old.”
Mr Weldon and KGH Chairman Alan Burns described to Mr Argar the huge plans for local Government changes in Northamptonshire as a ‘generational opportunity’ to look at new ways of better serving the population’s health and social care needs.
The Trust is seeking capital support from the Government to build a £45 million Urgent Care Hub on the site – essentially a one-stop centre for Urgent Care with a new A&E, new assessment unit and facilities for GPs and mental health care.
The HIP2 seed funding will enable the hospital to progress its Outline Business Case for an Urgent Care Hub to a Full Business Case.
Kettering MP Philip Hollobone, who accompanied Mr Argar on the visit, is supporting the hospital’s bid for funding as soon as possible - ideally earlier than the next major funding round in 2025-30.