Health bosses hope a new urgent care hub at KGH will be up and running in four years.
Plans for the hub, which would combine A&E with primary care such as GP services at the hospital’s Rothwell Road site, were first announced in 2015.
Documents from a KGH board of directors meeting on Friday (April 6) say an outline business case was submitted to NHS Improvement (NHSI) earlier this year with a target opening date of April 2022.
The case for the hub is in response to growing demand for emergency care services at the hospital.
When the emergency department was opened in 1994 there were 45,000 attendances – in 2017 there were almost double that.
This has led to a continued failure by the trust to meet its target of 90 per cent of A&E attendees being seen within four hours, a target last met in August 2014.
KGH bosses say the new hub will enable them to meet the waiting time standards, although there will be ‘inevitable disruption’ to trust activities during the construction period.
Speaking in Parliament last year, MP for Kettering Philip Hollobone said: “This is a fairly simple concept that requires funding of £20m to £30m.
“The idea is this: to have on one site, at Kettering General Hospital, a one-stop shop for GP services and out-of-hours care, an on-site pharmacy, a minor injuries unit, facilities for social services and mental health care, access to community care services for the frail elderly, and a replacement for the A&E department, which, as I have said, is now more than 20 years old.”
Because of the size of the capital required for the project, approval may be required by the Department of Health.
A project timetable says the design of the hub will come with the development of the full business case by July 2019.
Receipt of NHSI’s approval of the full business case is anticipated by October 2019 with construction to start very soon afterwards.
The site could then open in April 2022.
When the case for the hub was first announced KGH’s then chief executive David Sissling said: “We believe the proposed development is innovative, forward looking and aligned with national policy.
“Clearly our aim would be to have a system for urgent care that meets the needs of local people and enables them to be seen by the right people in the right place.
“An added benefit of such a development should be a more efficient use of health and social care resources in the county achieved through close partnership working.
“That is an important consideration and we hope that in the long term this approach will prevent the inappropriate use of resources which can be very expensive.”
Urgent care provision has been a big talking point in Corby for the past 12 months with the ongoing Corby Urgent Care Centre saga.
After months of fears that the site could close Corby CCG kept it open, but will instead make it appointment-only rather than a walk-in service.
Residents criticised the move and are currently funding a legal challenge against it.
Papers from KGH’s meeting to discuss the new hub at the hospital site say they are wary “that Corby residents may feel that the outline business case is in some way connected to commissioner decisions around the Corby Urgent Care Centre, and this in turn could lead to a strong negative reaction.”