Trust disappointed not to receive funding from the Government’s New Hospital Programme
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust is disappointed that its funding application to address the critical building safety issues at Wycombe Hospital was not granted in yesterday’s Government announcement of NHS building projects. We will continue to seek the urgent investment Wycombe Hospital needs and hope to be successful in future Government funding awards.
We wish to reassure members of the public that, despite the poor appearance of the Tower with its full scaffolding, our priority remains to provide excellent care to all patients within this challenging environment. We also continue to work with our regional and system partners to seek solutions for our hospital infrastructure.
The Wycombe site has an unaffordable c£100m of critical backlog maintenance, £80m of which is related to the Tower. The Tower is in poor condition and houses infrastructure which is vital to the running of the hospital, such as ICU and operating theatres. It is currently costing the Trust £2m a year just to continue to monitor its condition and undertake remedial work so that we can ensure that clinical services can be safely delivered whilst we seek alternative accommodation. This includes protecting the Tower with scaffolding to keep it safe for patients, staff and visitors. This money would be much better spent on delivering patient care.
Even if we spend £80m on fixing the critical infrastructure in the Wycombe Hospital Tower, we still won’t have a building that meets the needs of modern-day healthcare – the Tower was a building designed and built in the 1960s with small, narrow wards, poor ventilation and theatres on different floors. It needs to be completely replaced.
Instead, we are asking for up to £200m to build a new purpose-built planned care centre on the Wycombe Hospital site which would bring all our theatres together enabling us to see more patients more quickly, helping to clear the elective backlog and providing a better experience for patients and staff. But without additional funding, the Trust cannot afford either to fix the Tower or create a new planned care centre. Our Board recently decided to start moving services out of the building, as a recent survey indicated that the Tower could reach the end of its life within the next five years.
The Trust urges the Government to consider in its approach to the new Hospitals Infrastructure Programme that Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RACC) are not the only critical structural issue that trusts are dealing with. Giving smaller amounts of funding to more trusts, alongside the major funding schemes, would improve both safety and experience for many more patients.