The joint DHSC and NHSE/I—NHS England and NHS Improvement —programme team is working closely with all schemes in the programme, including Kettering, on how and when new hospitals will be built across the decade. That is to maximise the potential benefits that the programme’s approach can bring for all the new hospitals. We will continue to support all trusts in the programme, including Kettering, to ensure that there is the swift approval of all business cases—including, in this case, for early enabling works—but that will always be in line with due process to ensure that there is value for money, as my hon. Friend would expect.
I thank the hospitals Minister very much for his visit to Kettering General Hospital on 17 February. Specifically, can we have feedback from the new hospital team on the strategic outline case for the hospital by the end of April, so that the hospital can submit its outline business case for the next stage in July?
It was a pleasure to visit my hon. Friend’s constituency. He is a forceful advocate for that constituency and for his hospital, as indeed—if I may slightly crave your indulgence, Mr Speaker—was the late Sir David Amess. Today is the day that Southend-on-Sea officially becomes a city, so I just wanted to shoehorn that into the record. On my hon. Friend’s point, we will do everything we can to expedite the approval of business cases while ensuring that due process is followed to make sure that there is value for money.