Thursday 29 February 2024
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Nottingham

£15m funding for new ward at City Hospital to help cut waiting lists gets go ahead

A new multi-million-pound hospital ward with 24 beds and 88 staff will be created at Nottingham’s City Hospital to help cut patient waiting lists.

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has received £15m funding from the Government to build the new ward, which will be ringfenced for elective, or non-urgent, pre-planned care.

NHS trusts were able to bid for funding this year in response to the “unprecedented waiting list numbers” across the country following the pandemic.

The move is expected to mean the hospital can deliver an extra 1,670 elective surgery procedures a year for orthopaedics, breast, plastics and urology.

The trust is aiming to complete the ward by the end of March 2023.

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The funding was discussed during an extraordinary board meeting on September 22.

The plans were approved unanimously by tryst board members – but some concerns were raised about how the trust will staff the new ward amid ongoing problems in recruitment.

But the chair of the board said he hoped the modern ward would have a “pull power” for new staff.

Even before the pandemic, it was “challenging” for the trust to deliver its elective work, reports prepared for the meeting said.

Chair of the board Nick Carver said: “We are in the middle of a global healthcare skills shortage and we certainly have one in the Midlands.

“In a strange way, I think this is precisely the right solution to that.

“At a time when healthcare workers can choose where they work, we want to have nice facilities.

“In some ways, this creates a motivation and a pull power for people who want to work in nice facilities and do the best for their patients.”

NHS documents stated: “This scheme will support the system to provide sustained elective activity to reduce waiting lists for specialities with the
greatest waits.

“If the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is not sufficiently mitigated then patients may suffer harm as a result of delayed access to treatment.”

Board member Clare Urmston said: “One of the biggest challenges is staffing.

“We are struggling to staff the hospital as it is, so how are we going to staff this?

“It would be dreadful to spend all this money if we can’t operate it because we don’t have the staff.”

Duncan Orme, Acting Chief Financial Officer, responded that the trust would work with Sherwood Forest Hospitals on the issue.

He added: “In our detailed considerations we have described the situation which would happen if we were just unable to get the staff in.

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“If we were to end up in that position, this would not be a wasted resource.

“We would be looking to decant out of the older areas of the hospital estate into the new ward. We think we would get better productivity out of doing that.

“We are mindful that at the end of the day there are so many staff in the Midlands and we have to face up to we do not want to waste public money on building something which will not be used.”

Professor John Atherton added: “The fact that we sometimes have to stop elective work to do emergency work has been dependent on the estate from time to time.

“We know that these patients who delay do come to harm.

“I welcome this very much from a quality point of view.”

The funding is from the Department of Health and Social Care Public Dividend Capital, and the Trust has also set aside £2.5m for building costs to support the plans.

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