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Press release – 8 March 2018
Wye Valley NHS Trust has cleared another hurdle in its bid to demolish the 1930s hutted wards at the County Hospital site and replace them with wards fit for 21st century healthcare.
At around 80 years of age, the Canadian huts – used extensively during World War II – are long past their intended useable life span but are an integral part of the bed space at the County Hospital providing two wards.
A business case for their demolition and the building of two replacement wards on the site was given the nod of approval by the Trust’s board at the end of last year.
The Trust is seeking approval of NHS Improvement (the body which monitors the performance of NHS hospital Trusts in England) to fund the ambitious £15 million project.
Now a detailed planning application has been submitted to Herefordshire Council.
It marks a hugely significant milestone in the history of the hospital on the city centre site – the two new wards would be the first permanent new build on the site since the hospital was opened in 2002.
“This is a landmark moment for Hereford County Hospital and is a key stage of a programme of work to increase our capacity at the site to help us cope with the pressures we are experiencing,” said managing director Jane Ives.
“The planning application signals our ambition to deliver safe and effective care in modern and efficient surroundings and there’s no doubt that the new state-of-the-art facility will give our patients a better experience while in our care.”
The current hutted wards have been rated as a risk to the Trust due to their age – there are concerns something as simple as a leaky roof could result in the wards having to be evacuated, which would put a severe strain on the hospital’s already stretched resources.
“Four further huts next to these hutted wards are used to house medical records and are used as offices. Under the proposed plans these huts will be demolished to make way for the new wards,” said Christian Homersley, the Trust’s estates manager.
“We’re aware that the huts are sub-optimal and our staff members are doing an amazing job providing fantastic care in out-of-date buildings which have been modified and adapted over the years.
“The time has come to grasp the nettle and create inpatient wards which are fit for the 21st century and we’re delighted that we’re now in the position of having submitted our planning application.
“The Trust is inviting members of the public and local residents to discuss the plans at a meeting taking place on 26 March 2018, 6.30pm at Hereford County Hospital, Post Graduate Medical Centre. There is no need to book a place if you wish to attend. However, if you require details about the venue location please call the Trust on 01432 364005”.
The Trust has been working with Kier, the integrated property, residential, construction and service group, for the construction of the new wards.
The two new wards will provide an extra ten beds over and above the 38 beds currently provided on Monnow and Leadon wards, the two hutted wards they will replace.
The first phase of the project, which is now underway, involves relocating the medical records and staff currently in the huts used as offices. Once these are empty, the huts will then be demolished to make way for the new wards.
Once the new wards are built, patients will be moved out of the old wards and the two huts demolished.
Subject to planning permission being granted and NHS Improvement agreeing to fund the project, it is anticipated that the new wards could open their doors to their first patients in 2020.
Picture: Artist impression of new building.
Note to editors:
- Wye Valley NHS Trust provides health services across Herefordshire and beyond. The Trust exists to improve the wellbeing, independence and health of the people we serve. We are the leading provider of health care in Herefordshire.
- By working closely with our partners, we can make good our promise to deliver a quality of care we would want for ourselves, our families and our friends.
- With an estimated annual turnover of around £180 million, we employ around 2,700 plus staff. We aim to build new relationships between our staff, patients, service users and their carers with the wider community.
For further information please contact:
John Burnett, communication and engagement manager, Wye Valley NHS Trust: 01432 372928 or communication officers Amanda Millichip and Fiona Gurney, on 01432 355444 X5105