Plea to Boris to now fund £45m hospital scheme
- Credit: Archant
Health chiefs having won planning approval for a £45m re-development of the Princess of Wales Hospital Ely, will now ask the Government to fund it.
They will be encouraged by prime minister Boris Johnson’s pledge last year to “deliver the biggest hospital building programme in a generation”.
East Cambridgeshire District Council planning committee approved the scheme last week.
With it comes a commitment from the council to fund a small part of the scheme.
Council leader Anna Bailey said they would make a “modest contribution” from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), funds collected from development projects and allocated to enhance community facilities.
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Matthew Winn, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, said: “This is fantastic news.
“It is the first step in enabling partners to deliver our ambitious three-year plan to modernise services.
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“It will enable more joined-up care across health and social care services.
“It will also create facilities that will vastly improve the patient experience and the working environment for staff.”
Next stage is “to develop a full business case and secure the approximately £45 million funding required”.
He hopes it will be allocated from Government capital funding.
“If successful, this would enable this important local development to be opened in Spring 2024,” he said.
That is later than first anticipated when the scheme was announced earlier this year.
NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said at the time “there is an ambitious timescale to deliver by December 2023”.
He said the opportunities presented by the investment brings for integrated mental, physical and social health “should not be underestimated”.
Cllr Bailey said redevelopment of the hospital “is a long awaited and hard fought for milestone”.
She was especially pleased with “the incredibly comprehensive planning application and consultation process - delivered in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I take my hat off to them for what they did and how they did it.”
She also spoke at the planning committee in support of the application.
“We need to fully integrate health and social care, which will work at its best if it is locally understood, locally based and locally run.
“To fully realise the benefits of integrated working, high quality, comprehensive services have to be available locally.
“Buildings are important places, to galvanise people and act as hubs.”
Cllr Bailey added: “The vision for our new hospital is a modern hub - all existing services retained.
“There will be comprehensive GP and pharmacy services, new diagnostic services, additional day surgeries and a new full Local Urgent Care Service.
“And with all that that means - standard opening times with on-site back up diagnostics”.
Dr Richard Brixey, local GP and clinical lead for the Primary Care Network said: “Our plans also include new accommodation for the Cathedral Medical Centre and for staff employed by the Ely Primary Care Networks.
“These will be co-located with urgent care services on site to support integrated working and enhanced primary care services.”
Jan Thomas, joint executive lead for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System (ICS), said: “The redevelopment would bring care closer to people’s homes.
“It will create more physical space on site to meet the needs of our growing and ageing population.”
Lucy Frazer MP for SE Cambs, said: “Ensuring that first-class health services are available within close proximity is a critical local need.
“To ensure this, it is vital that we expand access to services to those in and around Ely.”
The project will take place in four phases, with a multi-storey car park prioritised early on.
Then will come new hospital premises enabling services to move in. This will include the day surgery being refurbished and old buildings demolished.
The re-development plans to only use four acres of the wider hospital site. New housing and / or a care home could be built later.
The trust says much of the current site is impeding the delivery of modern, 21st century healthcare.
If it isn’t re-built, it would contribute to a slow deterioration in the quality of services over time.
Although final use of the space is yet to be agreed, the trust believes the ground floor will consist of an urgent care centre, GP surgeries, imaging department, dental department, 23 hour stay / theatre admissions and a pharmacy.
There will also be a café in the main entrance.
However, any possibility of A&E services has been ruled out.