A new Whipps Cross Hospital will continue to provide the same core services as today but will do so faster and more conveniently for patients. ‘Building a Brighter Future for Whipps Cross – Moving to the next stage’, published today, offers a summary of the vision for the new Whipps Cross Hospital.
Double the number of diagnostic tests will be possible, meaning more will be seen and discharged on the same day. Furthermore, more operations will be done as day cases and more outpatient appointments undertaken remotely, improving quality and access to services and reducing the amount of time that people spend in hospital beds.
In addition, to help avoid attendance at hospital and improve discharge, the provision of services in the community will be expanded through NHS 111 and home monitoring services, as well as improved GP access and more phone and video appointments.
Taken together, the improvements both outside and inside the hospital should mean a new hospital has less demand for overnight beds than today, despite population growth.
The new hospital will have more clinical space but with a smaller footprint than the existing buildings, which will mean clinical departments will benefit from being located next to each other in the same building – unlike today – which will allow associated professions to work alongside each other. Wards will be developed to modern standards with a significantly expanding proportion of single rooms, growing from around 17 per cent today to at least 50 per cent, improving patient experience and infection control.
It is estimated the new hospital will cover, 77,000 square metres, and is likely to be a mid-rise building to be situated on the site of the disused former nurses’ accommodation. This would deliver a new hospital faster, with the least disruption to existing clinical services and would represent the best value for money.
Once the new hospital is built and services start relocating into it, the remainder of the existing estate will be released for redevelopment. It is envisaged that the land would primarily be used for much needed new housing, including affordable and key worker housing, but with some space retained for other health and care services and community facilities. Flexibility both in the way the hospital is designed and in the way the land on the wider site is retained for NHS facilities is critical.
Ryder Architecture has been appointed to lead a collaborative design team for the development of the design of the hospital and integrated health master plan to support the next phase of the redevelopment.
These initial plans were developed alongside local health and social care partners, as well as in response to engagement with the local community and staff. The programme of work is backed by Waltham Forest Council, closely aligned with local clinical commissioners, and a top priority of the East London Health and Care Partnership for capital investment.
The plans are based on a set of initial assumptions to be tested more thoroughly in the next, more detailed planning phase over the coming months, as part of the Government’s business case approval process. In the autumn, Barts Health NHS Trust will host large virtual public events in partnership with the local Boroughs to hear people’s views and help further shape the plans.
Alwen Williams, chief executive of Barts Health Trust said:
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a new hospital at Whipps Cross for our patients, our staff and our communities. Our efforts to meet the challenges of COVID 19 only strengthen our resolve to do so and reinforce the case for investment in new facilities.
Working with our health and local government partners, we are absolutely determined to get this right and secure the future for generations to come.”