Hospital Trust Board to determine how far government funds will go towards delivering a hospital fit for 21st century healthcare
At its next Trust Board on 30 November,KGH Board members are expected to press for additional government funding to enable them to progress plans for a new hospital.
On top of £46m for a much-needed urgent care hub, the Trust was delighted to receive an allocation of funds totalling £350m in the Government’s recent commitment to fund capital developments at more than 40 hospitals. Subject to business case approval, the money allocated to KGH will fund notable improvements to the hospital’s aged estate.
However, Board members are expected to announce that these funds fall significantly short of the both the minimum preferred redevelopment option estimated at £765m, as well as the total £1.1bn needed to deliver a fully new hospital and complete all proposed development works. The funds will, however, enable achievement of the first phase in a five-phase development plan for a new hospital and will go some way towards funding the second.
Simon Weldon, Group Chief Executive of Kettering and Northampton General Hospitals, said: “We are, of course, delighted with the present allocation of £396m towards developing our new hospital at Kettering. It will enable us to deliver much-needed improvements, including a new urgent care centre which local people and MPs fought very hard to secure. These upgrades will make a significant difference to our patients and staff.
“However, much of the hospital estate is more than 100 years old and most buildings are no longer fit for purpose. We feel this is unacceptable for the local people we serve across Northamptonshire who, rightly, should expect to receive care in a hospital fit for the 21st century. We know that many of our patients are treated in a substandard hospital environment, and we think they – and our staff - deserve much better.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure funds to move us a step closer towards achieving a new hospital in Kettering, which is much needed for the people of Northamptonshire. We have a well thought-through, long-term estates plan and we’re proud of it.
“However, it is clear that we have nowhere near enough capital to totally rebuild the hospital, either on the existing Kettering site or anywhere else. So, we need to decide how much of a rebuild we can afford to aim for.”
Together, the two capital injections planned for KGH would give the hospital £396m to work with. Over the long-term, this money and any further funding borrowed must be repaid (see editor’s notes) meaning that – much like a mortgage - it is essential to make sure repayments are affordable.
Kettering General Hospital’s Chair, Alan Burns, said: “£396m will sound like a lot to people, and it is. However, the cost of delivering a brand new hospital fit for the future - at the same time as continuing to provide care for our patients - is much higher.
“Assuming our business case is approved, the funds available will make a significant difference to patient and staff experience, but they will only go so far.
“Out of the five phases of redevelopment, achieving phases 1-3 is the minimum we are likely to recommend during the Board meeting next week. However, this would require additional funding which we have not yet secured.
“Achieving phase 3 would mean that 83% of our hospital estate becomes fit for purpose. Although more redevelopment of the site is needed, this would take Northamptonshire far closer to realising the ambition of a fully new hospital in Kettering.”
Completing the first three phases would bring the cost of redeveloping the site up to £765m. If this funding can be secured, patients, staff and others would benefit from:
An urgent care hub, including a brand new A&E and co-located assessment wards
Replacement of the majority of our wards
Six new operating theatres and new facilities for endoscopy, mortuary and pathology services
New imaging and diagnostic facilities
New medical and surgical ambulatory services
Relocation of critical care
A new energy centre, making us more efficient and environmentally sustainable
Refurbishment of retained hospital buildings
Improved links between services and a site easier to navigate with improved entrances, a dedicated blue light route and a better public drop off area outside the main hospital
Delivering phase 3 improvements would take around 8 years to complete, and would help to address the accelerated population growth in Northamptonshire which is expected to exert huge pressures on both our hospitals in years to come.
The two remaining stages of the five-stage plan are presently unaffordable but would remain part of a longer-term improvement ambition for the hospital.
On Monday 30 November, the Trust Board will consider options for the hospital site redevelopment and decide what to do next. The Trust continues to involve health and social care partners, MPs, patients, staff and local people, keeping them up to speed with progress.
The Trust Board meeting can be viewed by the public online (see our website for details) on Monday, November 30, from 10am-1.30pm, with this agenda item being discussed at about 12.45pm. Please log in here: https://youtu.be/xL0alNhs7zM
Local people can share their thoughts about the future of the hospital group being developed with Northampton General Hospital at an online engagement event Thursday 26 November from 6pm-7.30pm. Questions about the proposed hospital redevelopment for Kettering will also be welcome. The Link is https://bit.ly/2I9Bi0f