Harlow could have a new £500m hospital by 2025 – but no one knows where it will be yet

The Princess Alexandra Trust could be rebuilt at its current site, or relocated right across town.Residents across five local authorities are to be consulted on the future of a new hospital to be built in Harlow – expected to open by 2025.

The Princess Alexandra Trust has been promised Government funding to replace the existing, ageing hospital with a brand new facility that could cost as much as £500m.This could be a rebuild on the existing estate or a completely new hospital on a new green field site in east Harlow, near what will be junction 7a of the M11, around three miles from its current site.

A new hospital will have to meet three key factors: problems with where each service is placed in the hospital, the need to cater for an expanding population and the need to end the spending of £150,000 a week on just keeping it going.The total project is expected to cost between £350m and £500m.

After years of campaigning, Harlow was chosen as one of six areas to be prioritised for a new hospital by 2025 under the government’s new Health Infrastructure Plan.The hospital, which opened in phases between 1958 and 1966, is now felt to be in desperate need of major investment with staff working out of buildings from the 1960s and infrastructure that causes significant problems on a regular basis.

Welcoming the good news, CEO Lance McCarthy said: “The announcement is fantastic news.“It’s really exciting for all of our staff, exciting for our patients and really exciting for the population.”It is hoped a final business case will be approved in between 15 and 18 months, which will include detailed architect designs.

During that time the hospital is planning a series of consultations to discover what people from the five authorities closely linked with the hospital in Epping, Uttlesford, East Hertfordshire, Harlow and Broxbourne, want from it.“The announcement allows us to have some detailed conversations with members of the public from all five of the local authorities who utilise our services and over the next few months we will start to engage in detail properly with members of the public what their concerns may be, what they would like to see, how it would work for them and get the feedback so we can really shape something that really works,” added Mr McCarthy.

The hospital, which will be built to cater for 53,000 extra homes being planned for the area over the next 20 years, will also have the potential to expand by 20 per cent.As many as 450 homes could eventually be built where the current hospital stands.Building afresh in east Harlow is the favoured option, which would cut building time from around seven to three and a half years.

It is anticipated by the time building work starts, if east Harlow is chosen, then junction 7a will have been completed.Mr McCarthy added: “It fits perfectly with our plans.”

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust received recognition in July of the ongoing improvements in the quality of care it provides for 350,000 residents, with improved quality ratings awarded by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The ratings follow an inspection of six of the core services across the trust in March and April this year.The trust received an ‘outstanding’ rating for caring for children and young people, which has made the overall rating ‘good’.Five of the six core services that were inspected in March and April have at least one area that has improved, including surgery, the overall rating for which also improved to ‘good’.

Responsiveness improved most, followed by the well-led measurement, with at least one improvement in every assessment.The overall quality rating for the trust remains the same – ‘requires improvement’.However, PAH received an overall rating of ‘good’ for both the well-led assessment and also for its use of resources assessment, with 72 per cent of its scorecard for all services now rated as good or outstanding.

Mr McCarthy added: “A development of a new hospital is a massive plus and a positive impetus for all of our staff to really continue with what is really fantastic and hard work over the past three years to transform clinical services.“A new hospital is a real positive.”

Thanks to Essex Live News for the post: https://www.essexlive.news/news/essex-news/harlow-could-new-500m-hospital-3383407

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