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Frequently asked questions about the New Hospitals Programme

Find out more about the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme. 

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As part of the government’s pledge to build 40 new hospitals by 2030, the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our region’s ageing hospitals and develop new, cutting-edge hospital facilities that offer the absolute best in modern healthcare.

The programme is aiming to address significant problems with our ageing hospitals in Preston (Royal Preston Hospital) and Lancaster (Royal Lancaster Infirmary). We also need to invest in Furness General Hospital’s infrastructure in the context of its strategic importance and geographically remote location.

Having published our Case for Change report, which explains why we need investment in new NHS hospital facilities, we are now gathering feedback from staff, representatives of the public and stakeholders to help inform the potential ways forward for new hospital facilities.

Their feedback will help inform a longlist of potential solutions to address the issues set out in the Case for Change.

No decisions have yet been made. We’re currently exploring and gathering feedback on all potential solutions to the problems we face with our hospital buildings.

For Royal Preston Hospital (RPH) and Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI), possibilities include rebuilding on existing sites, rebuilding on new sites and refurbishment. As buildings at Furness General Hospital are in a much better condition than RPH and RLI, the most likely solution there will be refurbishment where needed.

Feedback from local people, patients and staff will be an important part of the process in narrowing down these possibilities over the coming months.

Read about the problems that we hope to address through funding for new hospital facilities.

Our proposals will be led by the needs of our patients, staff and local people. Getting feedback from those who may be most impacted by any possible change – including our NHS staff, patients and representatives of the public – is a fundamental part of our process in developing proposals.

We are offering a range of ways for people to get involved, including online workshops, telephone research, public opinion research and focus groups, as well as in person at events and meetings. Find out more in our get involved section.

All hospitals in our region have standard NHS funding for regular maintenance and repairs. This is a part of core Trust budgets and is not part of the New Hospitals Programme.

The funding for the New Hospitals Programme has been granted to address the condition of Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital, which have reached a critical stage. We also need to invest in Furness General Hospital’s infrastructure, in the context of its strategic importance and geographically remote location.

Investing in these hospitals will positively impact health services across our entire region and help deliver on our ambition to make our regional health system one of the best in the world.

Being able to recruit and retain staff is one of the major reasons we need investment in new hospital facilities and is an important part of our Case for Change – better hospital facilities will allow us to more easily attract and keep staff.

Our hospitals employ 40,000 staff across the region, but find it difficult to find enough skilled staff to operate effectively. This places pressure on our already very hardworking staff and leaves many hospital services heavily reliant on costly agency staff.

This is now a significant – and increasing – issue for both our ability to operate, and our sustainability as a health service within the region.

Our staff tell us they want a working environment that supports their wellbeing, and where they can treat and care for patients with the space and facilities they need to perform their roles to the standard that they and patients expect. We also need hospitals that allow us to stay at the forefront of research and education, and attract the best clinical experts.

Local people’s ability to access the care they need is an absolute priority. We believe that better, more efficient hospital facilities will reduce waiting lists and hospital stay times. We also want to use digital technology to create a network of services for local people, meaning hospitals can work together more effectively, and patients can access pioneering treatment either in person or remotely, closer to home.

Yes – delivering on our net zero carbon obligations and the Greener NHS programme (opens in new window) will be a key consideration of our proposals and of new hospital facilities designs, in line with national NHS priorities. Our hospital investment plans will be designed with sustainability at their centre, minimising our environmental footprint as part of the NHS’s zero carbon goal.

Absolutely. This is a major priority for us in developing our solutions and designing new facilities. We will look at the experience that patients, families and carers have when they visit our hospitals and our proposals will be informed by the views and feedback of local people, staff and patients.

We want to offer privacy and dignity through more private rooms, create the space for our staff to care for patients in the way they would like, and build more dedicated relaxation spaces for our staff, families and visitors to our hospitals.

We will also help people avoid the need to go to hospital altogether by offering complex care closer to home, improving community health and wellbeing services and overall experience for local people.

Providing exceptional patient care is always our number one priority. At each stage of the programme, we will work to ensure that everyone can continue to access the hospital care they need.

Improving access to hospital services is one of the big drivers behind the programme. We aim to expand the range of medical procedures and therapies available to you in our region, which will mean less need to travel further afield.

In line with the Government’s commitment to continuous quality improvement in hospitals, we will also create new, cutting-edge facilities that feature the latest digital technologies. These will provide patients with access to pioneering treatment either in person or remotely, closer to home where possible.

All funding for the New Hospitals Programme will be provided by the Government. As part of its commitment to fund NHS service improvements, the Government has given us the opportunity to secure a significant financial investment for our region to do something amazing.

With this funding for our local NHS hospital facilities, we want to make Lancashire and South Cumbria a world-leading centre of excellence for hospital care, and extensive research completed by the New Hospitals Programme will help to inform the best solutions which will result in better health outcomes for local people.

You can find out more about local NHS infrastructure projects across the country on the ‘Our NHS Buildings’ website (opens in new window).

The opportunity for government funding has been granted to help us address significant problems with our ageing hospitals in Preston (Royal Preston Hospital) and Lancaster (Royal Lancaster Infirmary). We also need to invest in Furness General Hospital’s infrastructure in the context of its strategic importance and geographically remote location.

No decisions have yet been taken as to how we will address these issues, what shape the new hospital facilities or refurbishments will take, or where these will be located. We are considering a range of proposals, and these will be led by the needs and views of our patients, staff and local people.

As no decisions have been made yet, it is not yet known what will happen to the existing hospitals. For Royal Preston Hospital (RPH) and Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI), possibilities include rebuilding on existing sites, rebuilding on new sites and refurbishment. As buildings at Furness General Hospital are in a much better condition than RPH and RLI, the most likely solution there will be refurbishment where needed.

Ultimately, we want to create a new, digitally linked network of brand new and refurbished facilities covering our entire region and making Lancashire and South Cumbria a renowned centre of excellence for hospital care. We will build on what we are already great at while developing new, cutting-edge facilities that use emerging digital technologies. These will help us provide all patients with the absolute best in modern healthcare.

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our hospitals and the services we provide for local people. By successfully delivering this New Hospitals Programme, every person in the Lancashire and South Cumbria area will have world-leading hospital care and facilities on their doorstep, when they need them.

This commitment to continuous quality improvements in our hospitals will help local people live longer, healthier lives.

What is to be built, and by when, is still to be decided.

A range of potential solutions are currently being considered, such as rebuilding on existing sites, rebuilding on new sites and refurbishment.

After consulting widely with patients, staff, GPs and primary care colleagues, local communities, elected representatives and other stakeholders, we will submit our proposals to the NHS and the Government for approval. The final decision will sit with them.

At this early stage, we don’t know the final timescale for the proposals, but we are aiming to transform our hospitals and services by 2030.

It is too early to say what impact any changes might have as no decisions have been made on the location or shape of new hospital facilities. We will take every step possible to ensure that any impact on current hospital services is kept to an absolute minimum throughout.

The Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme will only be a success, and deliver NHS service improvements, if it meets the needs of you – our patients, staff and local people.

We’ll be guided by clinical opinion, experience, scientific evidence and data, and all of this will be combined with the feedback, ideas and imagination of our people.

Visit our get involved page for more information on the various ways you can provide feedback and to connect with us through our social channels.

You can read about the problems that we hope to address through funding for new hospital facilities in our Case for Change.

Feedback from the public is an essential part of informing our proposals.

We have been inviting feedback from members of the public through various channels including through our website, in online workshops and using public research. Due to Government and NHS Covid-19 guidance, this feedback has been most safely achieved through online focus groups and workshops during the early stages of the programme. We are currently reviewing when to start introducing face-to-face events safely, as well as continuing to engage through online channels.

For more information on how to have your say, please visit our get involved page.

We are not in public consultation at this point. We are at an earlier stage in the process. We are currently gathering initial feedback from staff, health experts, patient representatives and members of the public to help inform potential proposals on new hospital facilities. To date, as part of this early engagement, we have already reached out to over 20,000 staff and members of the public, and this work will continue to ensure local people’s views are gathered and reflected.

Later in the process, we may need to hold a public consultation depending on the proposals put forward for consideration.

We are currently speaking to a wide range of stakeholders in this early period of engagement regarding new hospital facilities, including NHS staff, patient representatives, members of the public and local MPs and councillors. At this early stage in the process, we have already reached out to more than 20,000 people for feedback and will continue to ensure that we listen to those who could be most impacted by changes to local hospital facilities.

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, you can get in touch through our contact form.

How you can get involved

To be part of the conversation and to keep up to date on all the latest news and updates, start by registering for our email newsletter today.

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