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Local NHS Trust receives ministerial visit

On Tuesday, 8 August West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) welcomed Lord Markham CBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). With responsibility for NHS capital, land and estates, including the New Hospital Programme (NHP), he joined the Trust to discuss plans for a new hospital in Bury St Edmunds. 

Lord Nick Markham CBE and the national NHP team toured West Suffolk Hospital, visiting wards F7, F8 and F10 before seeing the significant progress being made regarding the Trust’s planned estates maintenance programmes to support its RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) infrastructure. They also met the Trust executive team, system stakeholders, staff and patients - who all shared their thoughts on the exciting new hospital project.

Following the visit Lord Markham CBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care, commented: “It was great to visit West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and speak to staff and patients about the new hospital for Bury St. Edmunds, as well as visit the new site and see the advanced RAAC maintenance work underway.

“We are investing in new NHS facilities across the country so patients can access high quality care in state-of-the-art hospitals, both now and in the years to come. This includes the East of England which will benefit from seven new hospitals by 2030 and this week I’ve been visiting some of the sites, including West Suffolk, which will be prioritised due to the presence of RAAC. This is a fundamental part of our plan to cut waiting lists – one of the government’s top five priorities.

“In the long term, our new standardised design means we can rapidly replicate new hospitals across the country, helping to speed up construction and deliver on our commitment of 40 new hospitals by 2030.”

During the visit Lord Markham and his team provided an overview of future plans for the New Hospital Programme and what the programmatic approach could mean for West Suffolk, including an interactive session featuring virtual reality.

The event follows an official visit in May by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, after the renewed commitment by Government to set aside a significant envelope of more than £20bn for the programme, with continuous investment beyond 2030.

Jude Chin, Chair of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “It was a pleasure to welcome Lord Markham, Chair of NHS England Richard Meddings and NHP colleagues to the Trust. Whilst our estates team have been doing a superb job in maintaining the ageing estate of our existing hospital, it was imperative to be able to show Lord Markham how vital it is for us to be able to replace the hospital site as soon as possible. Being able to meet our patients and staff too really brought home the impact the new hospital will have on the whole of our community.” 

Gary Norgate, programme director for the Trust’s new hospital project, said: “It was great to share our exciting plans for a much-needed new West Suffolk Hospital that will serve future generations of patients and our workforce.” 

The project team will continue to prepare an outline business case and carry on working closely with the DHSC’s New Hospital Programme team to develop the new hospital.

Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St. Edmunds added: “I was delighted to welcome Lord Markham to West Suffolk Hospital for a day of roundtable discussions, to walk the new site and to give people the chance to experience the immersive virtual reality presentation on the new West Suffolk Hospital 2.0.

“The new hospital is a significant investment in the future of healthcare here in Bury St Edmunds. Its state-of-the-art design and capabilities stand as a testament to our commitment to progress and innovation.”

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