Lansley gives green light to �71.5m Lister Hospital plan
Lister Hospital has finally been given the green light by the government for the last phase of a �150m redevelopment plan.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley was at the Stevenage site this afternoon (Thursday) to announce the government’s backing for the �71.5m final phase of the plan which paves the way for Lister to become a major acute services hospital.
The Department of Health and Treasury approved the East and North Herts NHS Trust business case after months of delay.
The final phase of redevelopment will create a new A&E, a new ward block, chemotherapy, ultrasound, endoscopy and day surgery units and theatres as well as the refurbishment of the main tower wards and critical care unit. When complete the hospital will have an extra 200 beds and a greater number of clinical and specialist staff.
The minister said approving the plan was “all about affordability and value for money”.
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“There are too many places where people have agreed building projects with expensive financial arrangements and high costs. This has not been one of them.”
He added that the government could not agree the deal until funds were certain.
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“We had to be absolutely confident that we had access to the capital resources this year,” he said.
“We are hoping what that will mean is the project will be able to go ahead in a similar timeframe to that originally proposed.
“We are looking at being able to start some of phase four within months and completing phase four within about two and a half years.”
Patients can expect a better service and wider range of services closer to home, Mr Lansley added.
“In east and north Herts more patients will have access to specialists at home at the Lister.
“What we are looking for is increasingly to be going to hospital for specialist care. Increasingly this will give them a certainty of services and access to consultants.”
Trust chairman, Richard Beazley said it was an “exciting day for the trust, as we move to create one of the best hospitals of its type anywhere in the NHS right here in Hertfordshire. It is a real tribute to our staff, local politicians and the public in general that we have been able to attract such significant investment into the county.”
The decision will also save the trust substantial amounts of money, chief executive Nick Carver said.
“While the phase four decision will allow us to bring real changes in the quality of our services, it also allows us to make efficiencies to the value of around �60,000 every month once the project is complete and all remaining acute and inpatient services have been moved to the Lister – which will be taking place in a phased manner between now and early 2014.
“I’m sure that our staff will also be pleased that the long-term direction for the trust has now been secured.”
Stevnage MP Stephen McPartland said the hospital is now on course to be one of the most advanced and modern NHS facilities in the UK.
“This is fantastic news for Stevenage and builds on the Government’s massive �250million investment programme in our local schools, health service, housing and jobs, which is putting our town at the heart of the economic recovery.
“I am delighted to have worked closely with ministers to secure this further �70million investment in our local hospital.
He added: “The Comet deserves some of the credit for helping transform the fortunes of our local hospital after it launched a successful campaign to save acute and emergency services at the Lister back in 2007. The support of local people helped to ensure the Lister was given the green light and could begin its journey on becoming a centre of excellence.”