I am delighted that Ipswich and Colchester hospitals have today been awarded £69m capital investment from the Department of Health & Social Care. The funding will go towards transforming the A&E at Colchester and broader services across both locations. This is a real statement of support from the Government for our local NHS. When you bear in mind that West Suffolk Hospital recently achieved an ‘Outstanding’ rating, making it one of the best hospitals in the country, it shows the progress we are making in the NHS that serves my South Suffolk constituents.
Of course, these are challenging times for the NHS. Nobody in the Government, least of all Jeremy Hunt, underestimates the level of pressure that our NHS staff and hospitals have been under this winter. We have seen unprecedented demand on our services and everyone who works for the NHS should be congratulated on their commitment and dedication during this difficult time. That is why it is right that, now we have started to finally get our public finances back into the black on current spending after the post-war record deficit we inherited, that more cash is invested into the frontline. To that end, over the last 10 days the Department of Health and Social Care have announced a series of measures to assist with the increased demand moving forwards, including:
- 5 new medical schools and hundreds of new places at existing ones, including a new school for Chelmsford for which East Anglian students will receive priority
- A generous NHS pay settlement which will see the lowest paid NHS workers receive rises of 29%
- 3,000 extra midwives to be trained so that the excellent NHS maternity services I myself have experienced as a father of four can be strengthened further
- £760m of capital funding to transform and modernise the provision of NHS services across England
The £69m for Colchester and Ipswich forms part of the £760m capital injection and includes the following (apologies for the acronyms):
1. CT provision within Urgent Emergency care footprint, enabling the delivery of a fast-acting, fully functioning Hyper-Acute Stroke Unit.
2. CT and MRI provisions enabling the local provision of CT Cardiac Angiography and MR Cardiac Angiography currently requiring patients to travel outside of the STP footprint for
3. Releasing other diagnostic equipment and facilities to provide swift, cost efficient emergency care for those local patients who require it.
4. Cardiac Angiography and Interventional radiology facilities suitable for the requirements of the local population
5. Dedicated elective care facilities to provide suitable patient flow and experience for elective and emergency patients across both hospital sites
6. Capacity to support growth and other changes
7. Reduction in Estates backlog liability by clearing aged buildings The team are led by an experienced head of capital planning with appropriate experience and capacity to deliver the major investment program in association with the IHT team.
8. Expansion of majors and resuscitation capacity at Colchester Hospital ED and improvements to EAU configuration.