Today (25 May 2023) the Government has announced a record investment of more than £20 billion, ring-fenced for the next phase of the national New Hospital Programme, which brings proposals for new cutting-edge hospital facilities for Lancashire and South Cumbria a step closer.
In September 2022, the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria stated its preference for new hospitals on new sites for both Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary as part of the New Hospitals Programme, alongside alternative partial rebuild options. This followed a comprehensive assessment for deliverability, affordability, value for money, and viability, considering feedback from thousands of patients, local people and staff.
Following today’s statement to the House of Commons from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the local NHS welcomes the announcement of two new hospitals to replace Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary as part of a rolling programme of national investment in capital infrastructure beyond 2030. This will also include investment in improvements to Furness General Hospital. The existing Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary sites will remain in place and deliver services to our population until new hospital facilities are opened. What this means for future hospital services needs to be worked through. The local NHS will continue to keep communities involved and provide further updates as more information becomes available.
Across the health and care system, NHS Trusts and the Integrated Care Board are working together to improve services and this work will continue. One example of this is the development of one of the eight new national surgical hubs, located at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital. This is an exciting development, which serves people across Lancashire and South Cumbria and is one of a number of recent significant investments on the Chorley site.
Further detailed work is underway to assess the viability of potential locations for new hospital builds for both Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary and to develop the required business cases. There is still further work to be completed in this area and additional sites may emerge over the coming period. Further information will be shared in due course.
Jerry Hawker, Director of Transformation for NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board and Senior Responsible Officer for Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme, said: “We are delighted to hear that the Government has announced significant new funding for the next phase of the national New Hospital Programme, which brings our plans to offer the absolute best in modern healthcare and address significant problems with the current ageing hospital buildings a step closer. We look forward to working closely with the national New Hospital Programme team to determine the specific allocation of funding for Lancashire and South Cumbria so that we can understand what this means for our local communities.”
Kevin McGee OBE, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is great news, and we are excited by the opportunities our New Hospitals Programme represents for the people of Lancashire and South Cumbria. Although the timing has changed, we welcome having clarity on both the timescales and the funding involved. Being able to build new hospitals on new sites will be truly transformational, giving us the freedom to design our services and facilities around the needs of our patients, future-proofing services for the next generation.”
Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our New Hospitals Programme is a key priority for all partners across the local NHS, which is moving on at pace. This once-in-a-generation opportunity will be a huge contribution to our recovery as a health and care system after Covid-19, bringing new facilities and much needed investment into our patch for the benefit of patients and colleagues.”
Kevin Lavery, Chief Executive of NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: “The New Hospitals Programme gives us a real opportunity to achieve our ambitions for being an exemplar health and care system by transforming the way we work across our hospitals in Lancashire and South Cumbria.
This transformation will enable us to improve quality, safety and patient experience for our whole population and have a positive impact for our NHS staff, who undertake incredible work to support our communities every day.”