The shocking £157m repair bill to bring Royal Preston Hospital up to scratch

The backlog of maintenance at the Royal Preston Hospital would cost £157m to put right, a report into the future of the facility has revealed.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 6:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 8:18 am

The staggering sum was contained in a document drawn up to persuade the government that the city needs a new hospital.

The so-called “case for change” was produced by the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria as part of a pitch either to build replacements for both the Royal Preston and Royal Lancaster Infirmary or create a single unit to serve both areas.

The two options were put on the table by the government last October when it confirmed plans for 40 new hospitals to be constructed by 2030. However, no local decision has been taken about which of the alternatives to pursue.

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The report states that the condition of the existing buildings at both sites has “reached a critical state, restricting the ability to provide high-quality safe, efficient and cost-effective services for patients, and to attract and retain staff”.

It adds that the two hospitals cannot accommodate the “vital digital technology required for modern healthcare, or the recommended number of single rooms to allow patients greater privacy and ensure the highest standards of infection control, in particular for cancer patients”.

As the Post revealed earlier this year, NHS bosses in the region were keen to create a “slam dunk” case that left ministers in no doubt about the need for new hospital facilities in Central and North Lancashire.

A meeting of the Lancashire and South Cumbria integrated care system board back in March heard that, whichever option was chosen to replace the Preston and Lancaster sites, it would be the “biggest and the most complex” of the proposed 40 new hospital projects - with an estimated price tag of £1bn.

The proposals are being developed with the involvement of staff and patient representatives, via online workshops and other events. A full-scale public consultation into a shortlist of options could take place before the end of the year, with a final business case due to be submitted by March 2022.

Jerry Hawker, executive director of Lancashire's New Hospitals Programme, said that the case for change was “the first important step in our region’s journey to new hospital facilities”.

“Increased pressure on health services, combined with the age, condition and layout of some of our existing hospital buildings means we must act now to address these in order to serve the current and future needs of local people.

“By building new hospital facilities, we will ensure we can offer the standard of treatment and care that local people expect and deserve. We will also deliver on our local NHS ambition to create a health system for Lancashire and South Cumbria that is one of the best in the world and plays its part in revitalising our regional economy,” Mr. Hawker added.