18 June 2010
Plans to spend £219 million redeveloping St Helier Hospital have been given the go-ahead by the new coalition Government.
The proposals, which were agreed by the last Government in March, had been subject to a review by HM Treasury along with £34 billion of other projects from across the UK.
Whilst £11 billion of projects have been cancelled or put on hold, the St Helier scheme has been given the green light. The Treasury review was based on three tests: whether the project was affordable; if it delivered value for money; and, whether it remained a genuine priority for the Government.
The announcement, which was made by the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has been welcomed by staff from across the Trust, as well as patients and local people.
Chief Executive, Samantha Jones, said: "Whilst we have never had any doubt about the importance of our plans to spend £219 million redeveloping St Helier Hospital, this announcement is a massive boost for the Trust, our staff and, most importantly, our patients.
"Our staff work extremely hard to provide our patients with the best possible care. However, we are limited by the age and design of the hospital, which is now more than 70 years old. In all honesty, doing nothing was not an option.
"The announcement brings clarity after an uncertain period. For us it is now full steam ahead with our plans. The sooner we can get the bulldozers on site the better.
"We would like to say a massive thank you to all of the people who have supported our plans and helped take them forward, including our local MP, Tom Brake. We must also thank our NHS partners, in particular NHS Sutton and Merton."
Under the plans for St Helier, almost of third of the current site will be demolished and replaced with a brand new building, which will house the majority of the hospital's wards and clinics. To help improve the privacy of patients and reduce the spread of infections, more than 50 per cent of the 346 beds in the new building will be in single rooms.
The building, which will be built to the newest hospital design standards and incorporating the latest technology, will also include a local care centre costing £17 million, purpose-built outpatient facilities and a new pharmacy.
In addition, nearly £40 million will be spent upgrading the remainder of the site, including opening a centralised eye clinic and refurbishing wards which will not be moving into the new building. A new-decked car park is also included, making it easier for patients, visitors and staff to park.