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New hospital for Harlow: “Discussions going well” says boss

Health / Thu 6th Sep 2018 at 03:03pm

A new hospital in Harlow is one seven schemes that will be given the go ahead by the Government, Essex County councillors have been told.

An area in Harlow close to the M11 and another where thousands of homes are being developed have been revealed as two greenfield sites being considered for a new hospital for the town.

A third option would see the existing Princess Alexandra Hospital buildings in the centre of the town being replaced with a brand new complex.

The PAH board has argued that the current estate is no longer fit for purpose and to continue improving its clinical care in the face of a predicted significant population growth for Harlow, a new hospital is vital.

The multi-million pound project proposal is being worked through by the Government and Andrew Geldard, Chief Officer for West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “I think there has been an informal decision made at the very top that the redevelopment of PAH for want of a better term is one of seven schemes that will progress.

“We have no certainty of how much funding is behind that but we have a degree of confidence there is an acceptance at the very highest level that this is one of the schemes that the Secretary of State, the Department of Health, all the other bits of the regulatory system want to see happen.

“What we are doing is mixing in the traditional approvals process of doing a strategic outline case, an outline business case and a full business case, but it does feel to me we have a high degree of confidence the decision is in the wings waiting.

“It’s a case of how we get to a sensible solution that makes those making the decision comfortable with what we are doing.”

The preferred greenfield site, which will have to be around 14 hectares in size, is due to be announced in October and the preferred option of either staying on site in a phased scheme, or moving elsewhere, is to be announced in February 2019.

Discussions with land owners on both sites are progressing well, Chief Executive of PAH, Lance McCarthy said.

If either of the two offsite options are preferred, the hospital will go out to public consultation.

Mr McCarthy added: “There are seven schemes that have been identified requiring more than £100m, of which PAH is one, and there also has been a very clear statement from the Prime Minister, as well as the recently outgoing Secretary of State, about the government’s desire to build ten new hospitals over the next ten years.

“We are confident and it’s in a very different place to where it was this time last year.

“I think it is highly unlikely we will be in place for an autumn announcement for capital for PAH because we won’t have made the full decision on the site and will be unable to go through the NHS assurance process by the time of the autumn statement.

“We are hoping that if we can get everything lined up, there will potentially another announcement around NHS capital in the spring and we hope to get it.”

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