On Tuesday 11 August the Prime Minister (PM) announced during a visit to Wye Valley NHS Trust that Warwickshire hospitals, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust (GEH) and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT), will be allocated £5million to assist with winter pressures.
Consistently the winter months for the NHS has resulted in capacity challenges due to increased demand for services. This year, the impact of COVID-19 has created and could generate further disruptions to the NHS. Therefore, the purpose of the funding is to upgrade GEH and SWFT hospitals’ infrastructure to help the trusts prepare for potential coronavirus outbreaks and winter pressures.
GEH’s allocated £3million and SWFT’s assigned £2million is a share of £300million divided amongst 117 NHS trusts across the country. GEH will use the funding to support a new ward development, with SWFT using the money to create extra space to treat patients.
SWFT is designing additional clinical space to be located at Warwick Hospital that will support treatment of a large proportion of our patients requiring urgent care. These additional facilities will support patients to be seen in the right environment. Due to COVID-19 the Trust has had to reduce the space used within the current department and this new development will help to release some of that space back to the hospital’s A&E teams. The development is planned to be in place by the end of December.
Due to the sheer number of people who turn up to A&E departments over winter and who then need to be admitted, demand for hospital beds is high during this period. Therefore, GEH will use the funding to build a new ward to provide extra bed capacity to support patient flow through the hospital. This will help to release pressure from the hospital’s A&E department with patients being seen and cared for quicker, leading to improved patient experience. The building work is set to be completed by Autumn this year.
Glen Burley, Chief Executive for George Eliot NHS Trust and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted to receive this funding for Warwickshire urgent care services. We are facing a difficult winter ahead while still recovering from the COVID pandemic and this funding will ensure we have the facilities required to support our staff to deliver high quality care for our local communities.
“We have worked hard and made all the necessary adjustments to ensure our hospitals are safe for patients to attend. Therefore, I would like to actively encourage you not to be scared to access our services when you need us. Please do not delay seeking medical advice or miss planned appointments as this could lead to further health complications.”
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “We continue to deliver on our promise to build back better and faster, with £300 million allocated today for NHS trusts to upgrade their facilities and improve A&E capacity.
“These upgrades will help our fantastic NHS prepare for the winter months, helping them to deliver essential services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections.
“Thanks to the hard work and tireless efforts of NHS staff throughout the pandemic, our A&Es have remained open for the public.
“It’s vital that those who need emergency treatment this winter access it, and for those who remain concerned about visiting hospitals, let me assure you that the NHS has measures in place to keep people safe.”