FINANCE: The Royal United Hospitals Bath Trust is planning to spend nearly £40m on upgrading its estate over the next six years.

Plans include a new pathology laboratory, a cancer centre to bring cancer services under one roof, improved parking and more green space in the grounds of the 565 bed hospital.

Redevelopment of the 52-acre hospital site has been approved by the board, and the trust is awaiting confirmation of a £10m grant from the Department of Health.

Future investment will be timed to coincide with the trusts last repayment on a £38m DH loan. The loan was part of the 2006 NHS financial crisis and was originally scheduled to be paid back over 20 years however the trust is confident of paying back the remaining £13.7m in 2012-13.

Work scheduled for this year includes the construction of new buildings to house IT and medical records at a cost of £1.3m to enable potential disposal of land and a £1.1m refurbishment of the Victoria ward.

It is also planned to covert the Marlborough Ward to an orthodontics out patient department at a cost of £1.2m but this is dependent on further reductions in length of stay.

Estates and facilities director Howard Jones, said the trust was “confident” of receiving the the capital award from the DH.

He added: “This will kick start the redevelopment of the 52-acre hospital site.

“Future investment will be timed to coincide with the last loan repayment in 2012-13 – fourteen years ahead of the original schedule (we accelerated the repayment schedule of this loan secured in 2006, from twenty years to six years), thus allowing us to borrow money prudently over a number of years in order to complete this strategy”.