• Redevelopment of Whitby Community Hospital delayed due to uncertainty over capital
  • NHS Property Services yet to agree £12m capital budget for the project with the DH
  • Design phase of the redevelopment will go ahead as planned

The redevelopment of a community hospital has been delayed because NHS Property Services has not agreed its capital budgets for next financial year.

Commissioning leaders approved the outline business case for the redevelopment of Whitby Hospital, run by Humber Foundation Trust, in November.

The £11.9m plan would see the four storey building refurbished with a small extension to re-establish a primary entrance from the public car park and a separate ambulance drop off area.

The project is part of Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group’s plans to transform the site into a “health and wellbeing hub” with an urgent care centre and 19 inpatient beds.

It will also provide inpatient and outpatient services. The CCG is currently trying to find a new outpatient provider after York Teaching Hospital FT announced last year it was no longer financially viable to provide the services.

The redevelopment plans have been delayed because NHS Property Services, which has owned the site since 2015, has not agreed its capital budget with the Department of Health and Social Care.

A spokesman for NHS Property Services said progress was continuing with the design phase of the project, despite the capital funding still being uncertain.

He added: “We have discussed the scheme with the Department of Health and Social Care but we cannot yet confirm that the construction and refurbishment costs of this scheme can be funded in 2018-19 as we do not yet have an agreed capital budget.”

However, he said a capital funding baseline for existing projects was already “assumed and in progress” so ongoing and urgent works will continue to be funded.

He added: “A baseline level of capital funding for 2018-19 is assumed and in progress, for projects that are in construction and for urgent condition and compliance work, but due to its size, the Whitby scheme cannot be confirmed as funded to progress in 2018-19 until a capital budget has been signed off by the department.”

HSJ understands the Whitby Hospital redevelopment will be one of the most expensive undertaken by NHS Property Services, which invested £67m in its capital investment programme in 2016-17.

The CCG said the delay was “disappointing”.

George Campbell, a GP and governing body member, said: “Last year, the CCG shared details of an unexpected delay with the redevelopment project due to a change in national policy related to market rents and the application of VAT, which meant that the costs of the project needed to be looked at.

“Given the current NHS financial challenge and before giving approval to go ahead, the CCG’s governing body had to ensure that the preferred option for the project was still affordable.

“In November, the governing body unanimously agreed to move forward with the plans. The next steps were for NHS Property Services as owners of the site to secure funding from the Department of Health.”

It is not clear how long the delay will last but a full business case is expected to be presented to the CCG governing body in the spring.

The HSJ Strategic Estates Forum is taking place on 20 March at BMA House in London. This is a high level strategic forum that brings together estates directors, sustainability and transformation partnership estates leads and trust board leaders responsible for the estates function who are developing strategic plans for their organisations and local health economies. The focus of the forum is on issues such as the delivery vehicle for the Naylor Report, the creation of Project Phoenix, advice on establishing strategic estates partnerships and assessing progress of STP estates plans. Sir Robert Naylor, national adviser, NHS Property and Estates; David Williams, director general of finance, Department of Health and Social Care and Simon Corben, head of profession, NHS Improvement are all confirmed as keynote speakers for the event. Register your interest for this free to attend event on our website: https://strategicestates.hsj.co.uk/register-your-interest-attending