Kettering General Hospital's half a billion rebuild could be a reality in a decade

A total rebuild of Kettering General Hospital could be on the cards to start as soon as 2025, according to the trust's chairman.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 6:02 am
The hospital now spreads across the majority of the Rothwell Road site
The hospital now spreads across the majority of the Rothwell Road site

Bosses at the ageing hospital, some parts of which date back to the 1890s, were already celebrating the news that they were in line for a £46m new urgent care hub.

Late last year they were also told that they were on the Government's manifesto list of 40 hospitals that could be in line for new buildings.

After the budget this Spring the trust is expected to be handed a portion of £100m of seed money to develop a business case to prove that KGH needs a total rebuild. This will be the first of many hurdles that the trust needs to pass during the process.

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The hospital has had many extensions over the years but it's now showing its age.

If successful, each hospital on the Government Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP2) list could get up to £500m to build a completely new facility which at Kettering.

Pledging to hold the polticians to their promise, KGH Trust Chairman Alan Burns told the Northants Telegraph that it would be a ten to 15 year plan, adding: "It's on the list for a rebuild starting after 2025.

"The rebuild could cost £500m - this isn't just money for a new paint job.

"There's a lot of work to be done on the Kettering site."

The children's ward in 1920

The site in Rothwell Road has suffered from its age in recent years and struggles to cope with the number of people coming through its doors. Last year it saw about 100,000 patients through the doors of A&E - more than double the capacity it was built for. Other departments have also struggled to cope with the demands of Northamptonshire's growing, ageing population.

The Conservative party pledged to build 40 new hospitals as part of their election manifesto. That pledge was challenged by opposition politicians and journalists and it later emerged that there would only actually be six brand new hospitals, with 34 existing hospitals to be rebuilt. Kettering hospital was on that rebuild list.

The initial sum available is £2.7bn investment over the next five years for the first six hospitals. Then, 21 trusts will share an initial £100m to develop business cases for a further 34 'new' hospitals. No work will take place until after 2025.

As the plans are in such early stages, no detail is available on how the money could be spent but the sum would be enough for bosses to design a new hospital from scratch.

Kettering MP Philip Hollobone has been part of a group that have campaigned for more than seven years for major improvements at KGH. He said: "Extra funding is needed at KGH and the hospital should be in line for two rounds of funding - the £46m for the urgent care centre and for the additional monies that go live after 2025 which could be hundreds of millions.

"It's a much-loved local hospital but it does need more improvement which is why I'm delighted about the seed funding."

Last week it was announced that senior management at Kettering General and Northampton General hospitals was to merge to help attract staff to the county and improve facilities.

Mr Burns also hopes that if the KGH rebuild is successful, it could pave the way for a similar blueprint to allow Northampton General to be rebuilt - another hospital that suffers from its age and site restraints.

He added: "We hope to use the opportunity to find a way to also make that possible to apply for Northampton to be in the next phase after KGH.

"The rebuild of Kettering is quite a long-term (project) but we are hoping to do it in a way that helps us to do Northampton after that."

The hospital opened on October 30, 1897, with a £1,000 annual budget, ten nurses, a matron and 22 beds. Now the annual budget is £250m.