Jerry Hawker on where discussions currently stand on new hospital facilitiesDate posted: 7th September 2021
Jerry Hawker, Executive Director for the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme, provides an update on where discussions currently stand on new hospital facilities, and the work being done to examine possible ways forward.
Following the publication of our Case for Change report, the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme is now entering an important phase. We want to update you on this and where we are on the journey towards new hospital facilities for our region.
Over the last few months, we have been busy collecting information on everything from what future clinical and technological developments we might need to accommodate in new hospital facilities, to potential land availability and building specifications. We have also involved thousands of patients, staff and stakeholders in conversations to start to build a picture of what they do (and don’t!) want from new hospital facilities. This work is ongoing and we now need to start narrowing down the possible scenarios for what we might do.
We have now developed a longlist of possible solutions for hospital facilities in Preston, Lancaster and Barrow-in-Furness that are feasible in terms of addressing some or all of the main challenges. As established through the Case for Change process, these hospitals are the priority for investment.
The list shown below includes rebuilding on the existing hospital sites, rebuilding somewhere new and / or refurbishing existing buildings and facilities – and various combinations of all these variables. We could replace Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary on two completely new sites, rebuild on the existing sites or build a completely new hospital to replace both on a single site. These are reflected in our longlist:
1. Business as usual (this is a standard option required in all business cases).
2. Limited investment to address all estates backlog maintenance as described in the Case for Change (this is a standard “do minimum” option required in all business cases).
3. New Royal Lancaster Infirmary on the existing site, with partial rebuild / refurbishment of Royal Preston Hospital.
4. New Royal Lancaster Infirmary on a new site, with partial rebuild / refurbishment of Royal Preston Hospital.
5. New Royal Preston Hospital on the existing site, with partial rebuild / refurbishment of Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
6. New Royal Preston Hospital on a new site, with partial rebuild / refurbishment of Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
7. Investment at both hospitals, allowing partial rebuilding work on both existing sites.
8. New Royal Preston Hospital built on a new site, existing Royal Preston Hospital site retained for some services and partial rebuild of Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
9. Single new hospital on a new central site to replace both Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary (some local services to be retained in new integrated community centres in Preston and Lancaster).
10. Two new hospitals to replace Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital (new sites).
Note: 3 to 10 above all include a guaranteed capital investment in Furness General Hospital aligned to estate priorities identified in the Case for Change.
A key part of building a new hospital is understanding what the needs of the local population will be and therefore how big hospital facilities should be. We will work with the national New Hospital Programme team to model population growth and other data to ensure that the potential solutions meet the needs of the local area.
It will come as no surprise that these are the subject of lots of discussion from our staff and stakeholders. We are also working through how much each of these solutions will cost to build and operate and what we can afford. We must also examine which potential solutions could lead to significant changes to services and to patient access, and what this might mean for local people. The truth is, whichever route we choose, there will be compromises to make.
To help narrow down our longlist of solutions, our next step is to work with a panel of experts made up of clinical leaders and hospital construction, financial and logistics specialists, as well as local NHS leaders, stakeholders and, of course, patient representatives. They have the essential, but challenging, task of putting each possibility to the test against a set of criteria, designed to meet the requirements of the NHS and the Government. We will report back on what we hear. This will produce a shortlist of proposals that will be subject to much more detailed analysis and appraisal to determine a preferred option or options.
We are committed to involving and listening to our staff, stakeholders and local people. We have a duty to consult if the option or options we take forward could change services or patient access significantly. We will keep you informed about our plans regarding this.
Of course, we are still relatively early in this journey and no decisions have yet been made. We will continue to keep you updated as we progress and very much welcome your feedback and thoughts.
About the national New Hospital Programme
The Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme is part of the Government’s commitment to build 40 new hospitals by 2030. Together with eight existing schemes, this will mean 48 hospitals built in England over the next decade, the biggest hospital building programme in a generation. Find out more on the ‘Our NHS buildings’ website (opens in new window).