Gloucestershire’s hospitals are receiving a £101 million investment to modernise and improve hospital services and patient care in the county.
According to the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the money is being spent on constructing new hospital buildings and providing ‘cutting edge’ technology, as well as developing ‘pioneering clinical practices, digital transformation and green initiatives’ over the next two years.
Improvements to Cheltenham General Hospital include two new operating theatres and a new purpose-built day surgery unit, giving it the capacity to care for an additional 3,000 patients a year, as well as ‘extensive refurbishment’ of its radiology department, improvements to the oncology department and new CT and MRI scanners.
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital will have its Accident and Emergency department, Acute Medicine Initial Assessment area and Acute Medical Assessment Units extended, creating room for an additional 17 beds in the Acute Medical Assessment Unit, along with a new ward with 24 beds and improvements to its mental health provision.
The hospital will also invest in surgical robots and establish what it describes as a ‘pioneering hub’ for image guided interventional surgery and radiology, set to establish Gloucestershire Royal Hospital as one of the best in the country for this service.
Some of the money will also be spent on digital upgrades across both hospitals to reduce paperwork and make patient information more accurate and easier to access; improvements to heating systems and pipe insulation; and installing solar panels, to improve the hospitals’ green credentials.
Clinicians say that the investment will reduce waiting times, ensure fewer operations are cancelled and ensure safe staffing levels, as well as improving patient outcomes overall.
NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care have provided £39.5 million of the funding, with an additional £5 million from the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s capital allocation.
Chief executive, Deborah Lee, said: ‘This investment really does give us an opportunity to provide the next generation of care at Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals in line with our vision for centres of excellence.
‘At the heart of our ambition is to establish ground-breaking specialist services across both our hospitals. At Cheltenham there will be a greater focus on planned care modelled on the outstanding service already provided by our cancer services and in particular the oncology department. At Gloucester we will establish specialist services with a greater focus on urgent and emergency care.
‘The opportunities for our staff and patients in delivering this vision are considerable with many specialist services rivalling and exceeding those found only in university hospitals in big metropolitan cities.’
Medical director, Professor Mark Pietroni, added: ‘What we want to establish are services that perform exceptionally well so when any member of your family needs specialist care, patients can access that care here in Gloucestershire without having to travel to Oxford, Bristol or Birmingham.
‘We want them to get the very best outcome possible for them. That’s what really matters to patients and this announcement gives us the best opportunity to realise that vision.’
Building work started in August 2021 and is due to be completed in summer 2023.