Huge £7m investment to modernise hospital

St Mary's Hospital, Kettering
St Mary's Hospital, Kettering

St Mary’s Hospital in Kettering could be in line for a £7m refurbishment to bring its elderly care ward into the 21st century.

A planning application has been submitted to dismantle two wards on the site and replace them with a 24-bed older persons mental heatlth services unit, after doctors at the hospital described the current buildings unfit for purpose.

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, has threatened to relocate older people’s services if the proposal to update the wards is not approved.

Richard McKendrick, acting director of speciality services, said: “The trust wishes to retain inpatient services for older people in Kettering, but if the application was to be refused then the trust would have to look to relocate these services elsewhere.

“This would probably be out of Kettering, as it cannot continue to provide services from accommodation that is no longer ideal.

“The current inpatient facilities are in accommodation that is no longer ideal in delivering modern healthcare for older people.”

The trust believes that the current Broughton and Ian Bennet wards are not appropriate for the hospital’s residents, some of who have dementia, claiming the rooms are small in size and lack privacy.

Under the proposals, the two wards will be dismantled.

They would be replaced by a newer building with en-suite rooms, appropriate walkways for residents, single gender rooms and easy access to gardens.

It would be adjacent to the hospital’s main car park.

Mr McKendrick added: “All the inpatients will have their own single bedrooms with en-suite facilities, the new unit will offer more day spaces for therapeutic activities, safe wandering routes, as well as improved external garden areas.”

Managers at the trust believe there is no other suitable location for this accomodation elsewhere on the St Mary’s Hospital site.

A target decision date for Kettering Council to debate the plans has been set for autumn.