New KGH energy plant raised in House of Commons after project cost rises

The hospital currently uses ‘dilapidated’ steam generators
Kettering MP Philip HolloboneKettering MP Philip Hollobone
Kettering MP Philip Hollobone

The need to start work on a new KGH energy plant on time was raised in Parliament yesterday (Tuesday) after the project cost rose.

Currently heating and hot water at the Rothwell Road hospital are provided from a 10-year-old ‘temporary’ boiler plant and steam network system, housed on the back of lorries in a car park.

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The system often breaks down and has maintenance issues and KGH has funding for a new £34m net zero energy plant as part of a major hospital rebuild.

KGH's 'temporary' steam boiler plantKGH's 'temporary' steam boiler plant
KGH's 'temporary' steam boiler plant

The full business case for the power plant has not yet been approved and, speaking in the House of Commons, Kettering MP Philip Hollobone (Con) asked Health Secretary Steve Barclay to make sure it was sorted as soon as possible so work can begin in the spring of 2024.

He said: “The Secretary of State has seen for himself the dilapidated steam generators at Kettering General Hospital.

"The new £34m net zero energy plant designed to replace them faces challenges from rising costs and new design requirements.

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"Will he ensure that the final business case approval process for this new power plant is completed as soon as possible, so that spades can hit the ground on time in spring 2024?

Mr Barclay replied: “I have visited the hospital; I have seen it for myself. As he will be aware, the full business case was received by the department this morning.

"While the cost has increased, it is still within the wider funding envelope for the scheme on that site and I will do everything I can to expedite the process as he asks.”

Mr Barclay did not say what the new cost is for the energy plant, which will also free up space for the hospital’s rebuild.

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KGH’s director of strategy Polly Grimmett previously said: “We can’t start building new buildings without a new energy infrastructure.

"Most people can’t believe that a modern-day hospital is reliant on this boiler. It’s embarrassing when people come on-site.”

In 2020 KGH revealed its rebuild plan but pleaded for more cash to get to at least phase three out of five planned phases. Parts of the hospital will be demolished and rebuilt with a new urgent care hub to replace and enhance the existing A&E.

The government has promised a ‘£400m+ fully-funded, redeveloped, improved and expanded’ hospital due to be completed on the existing site by 2030.