St Mary’s NHS Hospital and Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals boss hits out at ‘damaging’ delay
St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington has London’s busiest major trauma centre and is host to the NHS’s largest biomedical research centre.
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St Mary’s Hospital and Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals were among six hospitals in the capital slated for major renovation by 2030. But funding has been deprioritised after five hospitals around the country were found to be at risk of collapse.
Health secretary Steve Barclay announced the funding changes in the Commons last week. But Professor Tim Orchard, chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said the trust is continuing to explore options to rebuild St Mary’s before 2030.
He said: “If we waited until 2030 to start building works at St Mary’s, it would become impossible to continue to patch up our oldest facilities, many of which house key clinical services. As the provider of London’s busiest major trauma centre and host of the NHS’s largest biomedical research centre, that would be hugely damaging for the health and healthcare of hundreds of thousands of people.”
The government investment derives from a commitment in Boris Johnson’s 2019 manifesto to build 40 new hospitals by 2030. It has since emerged that the number will include facilities rebuilt or renovated to varying degrees.
London NHS hospitals
While work on St Mary’s Hospital and Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals has been pushed back, funding has been agreed for Whipps Cross University Hospital, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Hillingdon Hospitals and Epsom and St Helier University Hospital - with the projects to be completed by 2030. Work on Moorfields Eye Hospital, which is being built on the ST Pancras Hospital site, is due to start “immediately”, Mr Barclay confirmed.
The funding changes are due to assessments of Airedale General in Keighley, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, Hinchingbrooke near Huntingdon, Leighton Hospital in Cheshire and Frimley Park in Surrey. The hospitals are constructed with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), a lightweight material most commonly used between the 1950s and 1980s.
St Mary’s Hospital and Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals
Professor Orchard said: “Today's announcement on the New Hospital Programme does not reflect our understanding of next steps on the urgently needed redevelopment of our hospitals. We are continuing to explore, with the support of the New Hospital Programme, a range of practical funding and design options to ensure a full rebuild of St Mary's Hospital - and a start on the major refurbishment and expansion schemes at Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals - by 2030.
"If we waited until 2030 to start building works at St Mary's, it would become impossible to continue to patch up our oldest facilities, many of which house key clinical services. As the provider of London’s busiest major trauma centre and host of the NHS’s largest biomedical research centre, that would be hugely damaging for the health and healthcare of hundreds of thousands of people."
Health secretary Steve Barclay
Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay said of the change to funding plans: “These five hospitals are in pressing need of repair and are being prioritised so patients and staff can benefit from major new hospital buildings, equipped with the latest technology. On top of this I’m strengthening our New Hospital Programme by today confirming that it is expected to represent more than £20 billion of new investment in hospital infrastructure.”
Health minister Lord Markham
Health minister Lord Markham said: “We are investing in new NHS facilities across the country giving patients the certainty they can access world-leading care in state-of-the-art hospitals, both now and in the years to come. In the immediate term, we’re focussing on quickly and safely rebuilding hospitals in areas which need it most – specifically those affected by this specific type of concrete, which poses a significant risk to patients and staff if not rebuilt by 2030 – with over £20 billion expected to be invested in new hospital infrastructure.
“In the long term, our new standardised design means we can rapidly replicate new hospitals across the country, helping speed up construction and improving services for patients faster.”