Chancellor George Osborne has approved £420m capital funding for the redevelopment of some of the oldest hospital buildings in the NHS.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust’s outline business case for the replacement of buildings on its Royal Sussex County Hospital site has been with the Treasury for more than two years.
This morning the Treasury announced Mr Osborne had approved the investment.
The work will be a mixture of replacing the oldest buildings, many of which date back to the 19th century, and refurbishing some of the newer buildings. An additional 100 beds will be created as part of the work which is due to start this year and be complete by 2024.
It will be funded from the Department of Health’s capital investment budget in what is one of the biggest government investments in new hospital estate this parliament. The terms of the funding will be agreed along with the final business case later this year but it is expected a proprotion of the cash will be in the form of a loan.
Mr Osborne, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to green light the investment for the much needed redevelopment of the Royal Sussex County hospital. This is great news for Brighton and the whole local community.
“Bringing the buildings and facilities of this venerated hospital up to modern standards will enhance and improve patients’ care and experience.
“This investment once again demonstrates our commitment to protect and support the NHS. It is only possible because our long term economic plan has restored control of our public finances.”
The delay to the start of the building work means the trust is having to make interim arrangements for the reconfiguration of services in order to comply with the standards for major trauma centres.
This specifies that major trauma centres must have neurosurgery on site, however the service is currently located at the trust’s Princess Royal site in Haywards Heath 15 miles away.
As a result some urology and fractured neck of femur work is being moved from the Royal Sussex to the Princess Royal to create capacity to co-locate neurosurgery.
A spokeswoman for the DH said the delay had been necessary so the trust could do “more work on its financial plans to ensure that the scheme was affordable.”
Trust chief executive Matthew Kershaw said: “In 1928 – on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Sussex County Hospital - the hospital board of governors said in their annual report: ‘Our main building is a hundred years old, and the site does not easily lend itself to expansion. Our accommodation is taxed to breaking point and a very great amount will have to be done if the Hospital is to be made worthy of the county’.
“The approval of our business case is fantastic news for our patients and staff. We have been working on the plans for this redevelopment for six years. We can now move forward with confidence into the next phase which will lead to the final approval of the project and make our plans a reality.”
Treasury press release and information supplied to HSJ