KGH rebuild funding delay investigation pledge as PM meets MPs

They met at Downing Street this morning

Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 3:39 pm

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has requested his Chief of Staff ‘to get to the bottom of the hold up’ why funding for the rebuilding of Kettering General Hospital (KGH) has yet to materialise.

In a meeting today (Tuesday, June 14), North Northamptonshire MPs Peter Bone, Tom Pursglove and Philip Hollobone ‘pressed the case’ for more investment into KGH.

The Rothwell Road hospital was awarded £46m in 2019 for a new urgent care hub and £350m for a major redevelopment, and had been told they could merge the two pots of cash avoid any delays.

How the hospital could potentially look in the future – depending on how far it can progress its plans. The picture shows a view from Rothwell Road with a new entrance to hospital. Two of the three buildings on the skyline would be dependent on additional capital.

But more than two years after it was announced, the hospital trust is yet to receive the promised £46m with the three MPs blaming NHS bureaucracy for the delay saying that the ‘bottleneck needed to be unblocked’.

Philip Hollobone MP said: “KGH is a much loved local hospital valued by all. Local residents know that we need a new Urgent Care Hub to replace the overcrowded A&E and new wards in new buildings. We need to unlock this investment stream as soon as possible.”

When rebuild plans were first revealed in 2020 KGH said they had developed a ‘once-in-a-generation’ five-phase plan to rebuild it on the same site, where just 20 per cent of the estate is currently classed as ‘fit for purpose’.

They said that, at a minimum, three of those phases need to be completed to make a real difference. But that would cost about £765m – far more than the £396m earmarked – and they pleaded for more money.

An artist’s impression of what the Urgent Care Hub could look like, replacing A&E and short stay urgent care wards, with extra inpatients beds on the higher floors. This would be completed in the first phase of the development.

The cash they currently have would be used to make major changes including a brand new A&E department (part of phase one and which the hospital hoped would be open in 2024), new assessment beds, 12 new wards, a dedicated blue light road and a new energy centre.

But more than two years after it was announced the hospital trust is yet to receive the promised £46m.

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KGH is one of the 40 new hospitals which form part of the National Hospitals Programme and £396m has been pledged by the Government to redevelop the hospital.

Most of this funding will come in the period 2025-30, but the start of the drawdown of an initial tranche of £46m to facilitate enabling works ahead of the main development was promised in late 2019 for delivery before 2024.

The Prime Minister visited KGH in January 2020 when he spent five hours talking with nightshift staff dealing with the Covid pandemic.

KGH plans to use an early drawdown of funding to tackle its serious power supply issues that relies on a temporary steam boiler plant installed in a car park 10 years ago, and 50-year-old steam distribution pipework and switchgear, and the main high voltage electricity supply has reached maximum capacity.

Peter Bone MP who organised the meeting said: “The Prime Minister recognises how important KGH is to all of us who live in North Northamptonshire and wants to get the additional investment into the hospital as soon as possible.”

KGH is due to submit detailed business cases to the central NHS imminently to address the electrical infrastructure risk and the need for a new power plant.

The three MPs have promised ‘to pursue this issue until the funds are forthcoming’.