Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that £336.5 million of extra funding is to be spend on providing state-of-the-art equipment and facilities in NHS hospitals which will help over two and a half million patients a year.
Savings made on tighter financial controls on planned IT systems delivery during this financial year mean that hospitals around the country will get money for new operating theatres, A&E departments and other services, as well as new computed tomography (CT) scanners and ultrasound equipment, says the government.
The projects include:
- over £72 million to be spent on urgent care centres in hospitals in East Lancashire and Hillingdon and an upgrade to the existing urgent care centre at St Helier Hospital. The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust will also develop a purpose-build A&E department which will incorporate an urgent care centre next to operating theatres, to promote integrated care. Facilities will include acute inpatient assessment, specialist inpatient care theatres and critical care. This will be of huge benefit to patients and will reduce travel time between departments to a minimum, says the government;
- more than £30 million will be spent on state-of-the-art hospital facilities, including a new dedicated paediatric unit at Scarborough General Hospital which will look after around 5,000 paediatric in-patients and 4.500 outpatients, and a dedicated women and children's unit.
- over £20 million will be invested in world-class equipment such as CT scanners for hospitals in Dorset, East Sussex and Newham. In East Sussex, around 100 patients per week will now be able to be treated in-house, say ministers;
- more than £16 million will be invested in improving and increasing maternity services and equipment, including a new labour suite. As a result Birmingham Women's Hospital will be able to deliver an additional 650 babies every year;
- over £6 million will be used to improve cancer care and screening, increasing women's access to breast screening equipment; and
- community hospitals in Bridgewater, Tewkesbury, Purley and Surbiton will be re-vamped, benefitting over 200,000 patients.
Some of the money will be used immediately, for example for the purchase of medical equipment. Other projects, such as the redevelopment of hospitals, will have longer lead-in times and will start in the next financial year, notes the Department of Health.