Final funding still not approved for Kettering General’s new build
However Kettering’s MP Phillip Hollobone insists he has never been more confident that the hospital new build will happen
By Sarah Ward
The government has still not signed off on the funding needed to completely rebuild Kettering’s general hospital.
For years now hospital bosses and the Conservative MPs representing the areas of Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough have been saying the hospital is no longer fit for purpose, with the accident and emergency department running over capacity and parts of the hospital dating back to Victorian times.
It is one of 40 hospitals promised funding by former PM Boris Johnson, with plans to rebuild the new hospital on the existing site in Rothwell Road, as bosses say a total build on a new site would be too expensive.
At a public meeting in the summer the hospital’s project director Stephen Graves said the only money that was real was the former £46m confirmed in 2019 to build a new urgent care hub. The cost of the entire new build programme according to the hospital would be around £600m.
Shortly afterwards the interim Health Secretary Stephen Barclay signed off £38m for a new energy plant, but the remaining hundreds of millions needed to build the hospital are still to be approved.
With uncertainty about spending cuts caused by new prime minister Liz Truss ‘mini-budget, there has been some speculation about whether all of the hospitals will go ahead. The i news reported last week that whitehall insiders and contractors think Johnson’s hospital pledge may be scaled back.
We asked Kettering General Hospital, the department of health and social care and Kettering MP Hollobone what the situation is.
Stephen Graves Programme Director at KGH said:
"The Trust has submitted its outline business case for the whole programme and two sub-cases, one for the Energy Centre and a separate one for the Electrical works. The Energy Centre and Electrical works, which are key enabling schemes have been considered and approved, costing £38m, and the Trust is taking this forward. On the main scheme the Trust is in regular contact with the National Hospitals Team and awaits the outcome of the national discussions".
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said:
“We will deliver 40 new hospitals by 2030, backed by an initial £3.7 billion.
“As part of this we are working closely with the NHS and Kettering General Hospital Trust on the development of their building plans. Individual funding allocations for schemes are only confirmed and released once business cases have been reviewed and agreed.”
A background note provided by the media office said:
“In 2019 it was confirmed that Kettering would be allocated £46m for an Urgent Care Hub. This is in addition to the new hospital scheme, which forms one of the 40 new hospitals.
“Plans for the wider new hospital scheme are still in development.
“It is important to note that inclusion in the programme represents a government commitment to deliver the new hospital. This does not mean funding is immediately available for the entire programme.
“The Urgent Care Hub and the new hospital that is to be built share a set of common enabling works which have been factored into the new hospital development. As a result of this, the Trust is incorporating the Urgent Care Hub delivery into the wider redevelopment of the site.
“The Trust is intending to use part of the £46m funding for enabling works, which require a business case to be submitted and assessed.
“The business case for a new Energy Centre and improvements to the hospital’s high voltage electricity supply are currently in the final stages of assurance.
Kettering MP Phillip Hollobone:
“This [a new hospital for Kettering] has been my major focus. My job has been to secure the funding. I’m more confident than I’ve ever been. Full credit to Stephen Barclay who moved very quickly.”
He said he saw the £38m confirmed for the energy centre as a downpayment on the hospital build that local people should expect to be walking into new hospital wards by 2030, which was always the original timeline.