Questions over funding for hospital’s major facelift plan
HILLINGDON HOSPITAL is due to receive a massive facelift with a new state of the art hospital to be built on the current site — however, Labour has raised concerns about the project.
The plans include the construction of two eight-storey buildings, the new hospital, and approximately 327 housing units as part of the Government’s levelling up scheme.
Hillingdon Labour leader, Cllr Peter Curling, welcomed the plan but voiced concern about the lack of funding from central government.
He said: “Our first concern is around the funding, so far the Government has funded the development of plans and a business case, but not confirmed the funding of the actual rebuild — so will this rebuild actually be funded or will it fall short of the necessary funding?”
In addition, he spoke about concerns regarding the ever-increasing medical needs of the community and the affordability of the planned new housing.
A spokesperson for the Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The new hospital is being designed on the basis of clinical need, together with patients, staff, the public and other key stakeholders. There will be no reduction in bed numbers and importantly the hospital will be better designed in line with the latest standards, with services and departments co-located where required supporting improvements to care and the experience of patients and staff.
“The costs and timeline will be confirmed as we go through the business case process with the national New Hospitals Programme team and in anticipation, we are currently working towards submitting a planning application next year. Any housing on the rest of the site will include affordable housing and will be subject to a separate full planning application.”
The trust is responsible for the administration of both Hillingdon Hospital in Hillingdon and Mount Vernon hospital in Northwood and provides services to residents of Hillingdon as well as parts of Ealing, Harrow, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.
Previously the trust had said they would submit a planning application in the Autumn of 2021.
It has said that it plans to begin construction on the redevelopment in 2023 with the hospital being completed in 2026.
The current overall rating of Hillingdon Hospital by the Care Quality Commission is “requires improvement.”
Some of the issues highlighted in the most recent report by the Care Quality Commission included patient safety, dignity and experience as a result of the outdated space.
The main building of Hillingdon Hospital was built in the 1960s and parts of the hospital date back to World War Two.
The state of disrepair will leave 81 percent of the hospital in need of work in the near future which was projected to cost as much as £211M.
The rebuild itself will see inpatient rooms moved to the top floors of the new hospital to provide more sunlight as well as better views for patients.
In addition, 70 per cent of inpatient floors will be outfitted with single bed rooms — in line with national standards. Currently, only 28 per cent of beds are in single rooms.
All emergency care services will be located on the same floor to improve accessibility to these departments.
One of the clinical goals of the new hospital is to further integrate health and social care in Hillingdon through Hillingdon Health and Care Partners—which brings together GPs, hospital services, community and volunteer services to provide care for older Hillingdon residents.
At an April meeting of Hillingdon Council’s External Services Select Committee Professor Abbas Khakoo, Hillingdon Hospitals Redevelopment Project Clinical Lead, spoke about services provided by the new hospital in conjunction with Hillingdon Health and Care Partners.
He said: “By the time the new hospital opens, and probably well in advance of that, there will be more health and social care provided outside of the hospital setting than there currently is, but for those patients who require a hospital setting, they will have a much higher quality of emergency and elective hospital care.”
He also noted that the new hospital would significantly increase diagnostic imaging capability as well as provide more critical and high dependency hospital care.
In addition to these improvements in care, there will be a multi-storey car park complete with electric-car charging ports as well as extensive open green space on the hospital grounds.
There previously had been talk of plans to build a new hospital at Brunel University, however, this was scrapped for the plan to rebuild on the old hospital site.
The redevelopment is part of the Government’s £36BN plan to build 40 new hospitals by 2030.
However, after a visit from Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month, many on Twitter pointed out that Hillingdon Hospital was more than 60 years old and that redevelopment was not the same as building a new hospital.
One user wrote: “Redeveloping the current Hillingdon Hospital does not make it a new hospital. It’s disingenuous.”
Others, however, voiced support for the redevelopment citing the current hospital’s rundown state.