Frequently asked questions
Will the new Whipps Cross have fewer beds?
Our clinically-led health and care services strategy for Whipps Cross aims to deliver improvements in services that, working collaboratively with primary care and community services partners will mean fewer days spent in hospital beds each year at Whipps Cross. It is for this reason that the outputs from our capacity modelling suggest the new hospital will need fewer overnight beds even after taking into account future population growth.
However, we reviewed our plans and designs again, and will be able to provide at least the same number of overnight inpatient beds in the new hospital as are provided at present if that is required. We remain committed to flexibility in both planning and design, and this will allow us to maintain the bed base rather than reduce it, should that prove necessary. We will keep the bed capacity for the new hospital under continuous review.
Moreover, the new hospital will have over a third more clinical space than it does today. It will have nearly 50% more day case beds, reflecting the changing pattern of healthcare delivery with an increasing emphasis on same-day care, avoiding overnight admission where that is possible. This will be supported by a near doubling of CT and MRI scanners (from 5 to 9) providing over 30,000 more scans each year for patients. This will transform our ability to diagnose and treat swiftly and reduce unnecessary stays in hospital. For those that do stay, many more will be able to enjoy the privacy and dignity of single rooms, with over 70% single rooms in the new hospital compared to around 17% today.
How will specialist palliative and end of life care be delivered in the new hospital?
The new hospital will continue to provide specialist palliative and end of life care for those that require hospital care.
North East London CCG are leading work with St Joseph’s Hospice and Barts Health to establish what a non-hospital, end-of-life care offer for Waltham Forest could look like, in a way that could be delivered from the Margaret Centre. As part of this they will look at whether the unit itself would remain on the Whipps Cross site or be re-provided elsewhere in Waltham Forest. St Joseph’s will also be liaising closely with Saint Francis Hospice to ensure a partnership approach across the whole of the Whipps Cross catchment area including Redbridge.
Will there be enough car parking spaces?
Yes there will, but our vision is for a more environmentally friendly and much more accessible site in the future. In line with local and regional policy we are aiming to reduce reliance on car use to the hospital to support a significant reduction in car parking spaces at the hospital over several years.
To do this, we are developing an active travel plan to improve access to sustainable transport modes - including walking, cycling and public transport - to support a gradual reduction in car use and a consequent reduction in the overall demand for car parking spaces. We are also discussing with local partners, including Transport for London, the opportunities for improving public transport, particularly bus connections. Our car parks will be fully accessible for disabled drivers and their passengers and have EV charging points. There will also be dedicated drop off/pick up facilities making access simpler, safer, and as practical as possible.
How much of the site will be sold?
The current hospital site has developed over a 100 year period and sprawls across 18 hectares (equivalent to around 25 football pitches). The new hospital will be a similar size to the previous hospital but with more clinical space to treat patients and will take up significantly less land on the site.
In several years time, once the new hospital is built and services have relocated into it, the land not required for the new hospital - or safeguarded for future NHS needs - will be released for redevelopment. This provides the opportunity to transform the wider site with: up to 1,500 new homes (in line with Waltham Forest’s Council’s Local Plan), new green and public spaces, better transport and access, other new health and care services and community facilities.
When will the hospital be completed?
We have submitted our outline planning applications and we are working closely with the New Hospitals Programme to finalise our Outline Business Case. Subject to planning and business case approvals, we anticipate the completion of the new hospital by the end of 2026.
The new Whipps Cross Hospital is one of eight ‘pathfinders’ that are part of the Government’s commitment to build 40 new hospitals by 2030 - the biggest hospital building programme in a generation backed by an initial £3.7 billion. This commitment forms part of the wider NHS Health Infrastructure Plan.The New Hospitals Programme is a Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and NHS Improvement joint team, working with local trusts to design and deliver their hospitals.
How much will the new hospital cost?
The estimated cost of the new hospital will be informed by the detailed design work that underpins the development of the Outline Business Case. The overall capital requirement from Government will be informed by the detailed design work and then subject to approval by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Treasury, as part of the Government’s approval process for the Outline Business Case.
How will the new development prevent issues like those during the recent flooding?
The major flooding incident at Whipps Cross in July 2021 once again brought home that our ageing and sprawling estate makes the hospital particularly vulnerable to such events. The fact that it was a newer part of the hospital most affected by the floods reinforces the case for building a new, modern, hospital on the site as soon as possible.
Our flood prevention plans for the new hospital include incorporating green roofs and attenuation tanks (which collect and store excess water), to reduce the “run off” rate of surface water into the existing drainage system to reduce peaks - equivalent to “green field conditions”. There will also be a critical drainage area set aside to provide flood attenuation tanks and natural ponds to further improve the impact of flooding. The drainage will be designed to promote increased water use efficiency, improved water quality, and enhanced biodiversity, urban greening, amenity and recreation.
However, these plans can only be delivered in full through the redevelopment of the hospital and the wider site.