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Building New Hospitals

Volume 684: debated on Tuesday 17 November 2020

On 2 October, £3.7 billion-worth of funding was confirmed for 40 new hospitals, with a further eight schemes invited to bid for future funding, to deliver a total of 48 hospitals by 2030. Four in the programme are already in construction, and three others have commenced early, enabling works on site. The hospital building programme is, of course, in addition to significant upgrades to 20 hospitals, which will be complete by March 2024, and is part of a wider programme of investment.

I am grateful to the Minister for those clarifications, and I obviously welcome this programme, but before he came into office, in March 2018, his Department allocated £312 million for a major capital programme at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford. Now that an independent reconfiguration panel has confirmed that these decisions were properly made and should proceed, the trust is seeking approval from his Department for advance of funds for enabling work by architects, structural engineers and others. Can he confirm when this requested £6.3 million will be forthcoming?

I am pleased to confirm to my right hon. Friend, a distinguished predecessor of mine in this office, at this Dispatch Box that £6 million-worth of funding has been approved in principle, allowing Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to develop its plans and produce a business case for this scheme. The Department will continue to work closely with the trust to understand how the right support can be provided centrally to develop an affordable case for the overall scheme and to maximise the impact of this funding, and I will be writing to my right hon. Friend with more detail later today.

The independent reconfiguration panel overwhelmingly backed the plans for the development at the Epsom and St Helier trust; does my hon. Friend agree that the Labour party should take away the threat of a judicial review and allow this investment to take place so that my constituents and the constituents of south-west London can benefit from greater access and better-quality healthcare?

I am delighted that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State recently gave these plans the green light following independent advice from the IRP, and I am pleased that this will mean my hon. Friend’s constituents and, indeed, many others will benefit from a new state-of-the-art NHS hospital in Sutton. Patients and the public will now be engaged in shaping the detail of the new services; I encourage all local people to participate positively in that process and the council and others to get behind that scheme and that record investment by this Government in his area.