West Suffolk to receive funding to kick start plans for new hospital
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is to receive Government funding to kick start plans for a new hospital.
It is among 21 trusts set to share £100 million seed funding to develop their schemes as part of the Health Infrastructure Plan to build 40 new hospitals across England over the next decade.
The Government's £13 billion plans include a £2.7 billion investment for six new hospitals between 2020 to 2025.
West Suffolk's plans are earmarked for 2025 to 2030.
In a tweet, Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, thanked Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock.
"He has seen first hand how committed our staff are and the challenges of working in a hospital that has gone 15 years beyond its intended lifespan," Dr Dunn said.
Mr Hancock said: "I love the NHS and I’m incredibly excited to be able to launch the largest hospital building plan in a generation, with 40 new hospitals across the country.
"Too many of our hospitals are too old, and this £13 billion plan will build new state of the art hospitals, using the best technology, so our brilliant NHS staff have the best possible facilities to provide the best possible care.
"For too long, we’ve taken a short-term approach to NHS buildings and infrastructure, too often using a PFI system that has hamstrung hospitals for decades.
"Our new Health Infrastructure Plan is going to change that. Rather than the piecemeal and uncoordinated decisions of the past, we will be taking a strategic approach to improve health infrastructure and set the priorities for the NHS over the long term."
In a tweet, Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill said it was 'brilliant news' and she had been 'campaigning for West Suffolk Hospital to have a major upgrade since 2015'.
In St Edmundsbury's framework for growth, Vision 2031, land was earmarked for the 'long term development of a sub-regional health campus (relocation of the West Suffolk Hospital)' to the west of Bury St Edmunds.
Other hospitals to receive the £100 million seed funding include Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and the North Manchester General Hospital.
Given the scale of the workforce crisis in the NHS, with 100,000 unfilled vacancies, the Government must understand the importance of addressing this - Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair
Responding to the plans, trade union The British Medical Association (BMA) called on the Government to address the 'workforce crisis in the NHS'.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: "Given that the NHS has been woefully underfunded for years and patient care has suffered as a result, new investment in hospital buildings and the modernisation of scanners is a positive step forward.
"With fewer hospital beds per population compared to other European countries, and a backlog in maintenance and repairs totalling billions, this will clearly not be enough to deliver what is needed. The problem is not limited to hospitals as investment in primary and social care is just as important.
"As doctors we know that hospitals are only as good as the staff who run them and given the scale of the workforce crisis in the NHS, with 100,000 unfilled vacancies, the Government must understand the importance of addressing this if they are to successfully deliver their plan."