The long term future of Epsom and St Helier hospitals
Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles said: “We are pleased to announce that the surplus land in the grounds of Epsom Hospital – which contained derelict buildings and was not needed by the Trust and will not be needed in the future – will soon be home to a unique later living community for the over 65s. This delivers on the commitment we made to sell the land for a social care use rather than just solely residential housing.
“This exciting new development – which is being led by Legal & General – will mean additional age-specific housing for this country’s ageing (with a hospital on the doorstep should they ever need us), as well as additional facilities – all subject to planning permission – which will likely include a nursery, a wellness centre and ancillary retail opportunities. There will also be the ability, should we need it, for NHS patients to access some of the accommodation in the development. Importantly, this will be an extension of the Epsom community rather than a closed-off development, and will benefit local residents and our staff as well as support around 50 new jobs. Legal & General will be starting their planning process and consulting with local residents and stakeholders in the coming months.
“For the Trust, it will mean a more efficient use of the space and land that we own, it will save us money on maintaining and securing disused buildings, and it has unlocked in excess of £15 million of investment into existing buildings at Epsom Hospital and building a new facility for our clinical administrative support staff working at Epsom. They are currently working in a run-down building that was designed to be a nursing home back in the 1920s.”
The investments we are making in Epsom Hospital in the current financial year and into next year, which are in part funded from this land sale, include:
- A new 30 room outpatient facility in Woodcote Wing (opening in spring 2019)
- Replacing all the windows in Bradbury and Denbies Wing (completing in spring 2019)
- A new outpatient therapy centre in Langley Wing (now open)
- Replacing the air handling plant in Wells Wing to reduce summer temperatures (due to be completed in summer 2020)
- Refurbishing some of the lifts at Epsom Hospital (programme throughout 2019 and 2020, with one lift in Bradbury Wing already replaced. An additional lift for Langley Wing is due to complete by summer 2019)
- A new clinical administration building (building underway, and due to be completed in spring 2019)
- Replacing the old steam boilers with a combined heat and power plant (work started and due to finish in 2020)
- Replacing all the lighting in the hospital with modern energy efficient LEDs (work started and will finish in 2019)
- A new decked car park (planning underway and due to be completed in 2020)
- A link bridge from Wells Wing to Langley Wing as part of the redevelopment of Langley Wing that we have secured separate funding for (planning under way and will be completed in 2021)
- Expansion to our Emergency Department and Urgent Treatment Centre providing increased assessment and treatment cubicles (now open)
- External refurbishment of Wells Wing including roof replacement and replacement of window (planning underway and planned completion in 2022).
Importantly, the sale of the surplus land leaves enough space to build a brand new acute facility on the Epsom site (and additional car parking), should the Epsom site be chosen as the preferred location for building a new acute facility. We have already published this report that our local Commissioners produced and it is available on our website.
Explaining the background to this exciting development, Daniel said: “Last year, we began a piece of work to ensure we are making the most of our estate and assets and assessed what land we have but don’t use, and the areas within our grounds that we will never need.
“We identified some parts of the Epsom site, containing the derelict York House and old accommodation block, as surplus to our current and future needs. It is therefore suitable to sell to the public sector, and this plan was approved by our Trust Board in April 2018.”
Daniel added: “As lots of local people are aware, because of our ageing buildings and the way our services are currently configured, Epsom and St Helier cannot continue as we are forever. To secure a long term future that is clinically and financially sustainable, we need to build a state-of-the-art, brand new facility (on one of our existing hospital sites) where our sickest patients will be cared for. Before any decisions are made, there would be a public consultation led by the Clinical Commissioning Groups so that local people can have their say about where they think this new facility should be built. Importantly, we have ensured that we have enough space remaining at each of our three hospital sites to build a new acute facility.
“A development of that size will of course take some years to complete, and in the meantime we cannot stand still. We have to sort out the many, many issues we have with our existing buildings.”