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New NHS report highlights why new hospital facilities are needed for Lancashire and South Cumbria

The local NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria has published a new report explaining why funding for new hospital facilities is essential for the health of local people.

The New Hospitals Programme Case for Change report outlines the critical need for investment in Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Royal Preston Hospital and Furness General Hospital. It describes the impact that the current issues with these buildings have on patient and staff experience, local people’s health and the ability to deliver hospital services productively and efficiently.

The Case for Change is the first in a series of official documents that the local NHS must produce as part of the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme. It explains the problems that the local NHS hopes to address through funding for new hospital facilities, and how this supports ambitions to improve health and wellbeing and deliver better care for local people.

The report provides detailed evidence about the need to address significant issues with the ageing Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital buildings, and to improve facilities at Furness General Hospital, due to its strategic importance and geographically remote location. Developed in collaboration with clinicians, staff, patients, key stakeholders and representatives of local communities in the region, it covers six important themes:

  • Lancashire and South Cumbria: how ageing hospital buildings impact the local NHS’s ability to provide for local people’s current and future health needs
  • Our hospitals: the pivotal role of hospitals in the local community and the poor condition of some of the buildings
  • Our clinical strategy: the problems ageing hospital buildings present in the context of the region’s ambitions for hospital care and the wider health and care system
  • Our workforce: the impact of poor hospital estate on existing NHS staff, and the ability to attract new staff
  • Our digital ambitions: how ageing hospital buildings prevent them from fulfilling the NHS’s digital technology and sustainability goals
  • Our use of resources: how hospital infrastructure impacts local NHS productivity and efficiency.

Jerry Hawker, Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership’s Executive Director for the New Hospitals Programme, said: “Making our case for change is the first important step in our region’s journey to new hospital facilities. Increased pressure on health services, combined with the age, condition and layout of some of our existing hospital buildings means we must act now to address these in order to serve the current and future needs of local people.

“By building new hospital facilities, we will ensure we can offer the standard of treatment and care that local people expect and deserve. We will also deliver on our local NHS ambition to create a health system for Lancashire and South Cumbria that is one of the best in the world and plays its part in revitalising our regional economy.”

Key findings in the Case for Change include:

  • Of the 1.8m people served by the region’s hospitals, a larger proportion experience mental and physical ill-health than in the rest of England, the number of people over 65 is projected to increase by 22% by 2030, and 20% live in the 10% most deprived communities in the country.
  • The condition of buildings at Royal Preston Hospital (RPH) and Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) have reached a critical state, restricting the ability to provide high-quality safe, efficient and cost-effective services for patients, and to attract and retain staff.
  • RPH and RLI have backlog maintenance costs totalling £157m and £88m respectively, largely due to their dilapidated condition. Running costs at RLI  (£442 per sqm) are double that of a new build due to the age of the site.
  • Furness General Hospital requires investment due to its geographically remote location close to some of the UK’s major strategic national assets, and its need to meet NHS environmental goals.
  • These major hospitals cannot accommodate vital digital technology required for modern healthcare, or the recommended number of single rooms to allow patients greater privacy and ensure the highest standards of infection control, in particular for cancer patients.
  • Poor hospital facilities mean patients wait longer than they should for urgent treatment, routine surgery, diagnostics and cancer treatment. Investment will reduce waiting times and expand choice for patients by providing services closer to home and enabling more specialist services to be provided in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

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

Investment in hospitals will enable the local NHS to provide state of the art buildings and technology, strengthening the region’s position as a centre of excellence for research, education and specialised care. The funding will also have a wider positive impact on the local region, attracting further investment, acting as a catalyst to deliver wider socio-economic benefits and playing a key part in revitalising the regional economy, as well as introducing measures to cut carbon emissions and protect the environment.

Local people, NHS staff and stakeholders are being encouraged to provide their views as part of the development of proposals, with people invited to get involved through online workshops, public opinion research, events and meetings.

The programme is led by the following trusts:

The trusts are working with other health organisations including: Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (opens in new window), Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (opens in new window), North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (opens in new window), Clinical Commissioning Groups, GPs and primary care representatives. 

The Trusts are working closely with the Department of Health & Social Care and NHS England and NHS Improvement central programme team. Being part of a national hospital building programme (opens in new tab) will mean experience will be shared across different schemes, for example in the implementation of standardisation, digital technology, sustainability and modern methods of construction, delivering state-of-the-art facilities whilst maintaining value for money.

The programme is following a clear process, with scrutiny and approvals needed from decision makers within the NHS, the government and local authorities and a series of milestones to pass before funding is awarded and building can start. The building of new hospital facilities is due to be completed by 2030.

More details on the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme here.

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We are encouraging people to provide their views. Capturing your voice is an important part of the process and your comments on our longlist of proposals are warmly welcomed.

Read about the problems that we hope to address through funding for new hospital facilities, and how this supports ambitions to improve health and wellbeing and deliver better care for local people.

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