The reasons for why our Strategic Outline Case sets out our preferred new hospital scheme for a single-phase new build on the existing hospital site are as follows:
Only solution to meet 2030 end of life deadline
A single-phase new build on the existing site is the only solution that meets the critical deadline of our current hospital reaching end of life by 2030. This is because our hospital is a RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) hospital, which was built in 1980 and designed to last 30 years. RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete used to manufacture pre-cast planks which have been used to build the hospital. These planks are now more than 40 years old and have reached end of life.
Most cost-effective solution
It will cost £862m (based on costs in 2022) to build a new hospital on the current site. It is estimated that to build offsite would cost over £1bn and therefore is deemed unaffordable by our regulator and NHS England.
Building on an offsite location would likely bring disruption to patients, visitors and staff for at least ten years. It would include factors outside of our control (including roads and other infrastructure) and would require a formal public consultation. This would also mean a much longer time period before a new hospital was up and running which does meet our 2030 critical end of life deadline.
Maximising recent and planned investments
Building a new hospital on the existing site means that all of the recent investments and improvements we have made to the site including the new Endoscopy Unit, Outpatient Unit, Eye Centre and other planned developments (for example, the Elective Hub and Diagnostic and Assessment Centre) will all remain as they fit in with our long-term Estates Strategy and ‘masterplan’ for QEH. We are committed to improving the facilities and experience we offer our patients now as well as addressing the critical issues around RAAC that present day-to-day challenges for the running of our hospital.
Supporting our investment case
At a national level, the Government’s commitment to eradicating RAAC was a key driver to awarding the necessary investment. The onsite option was our best chance to secure the funding we need to build a new hospital.
At the Trust Board Meeting on 7 December 2021, the Board approved the preferred option of a single-phase full new build on the existing hospital site based on the technical detail and information presented to them following the completion of a detailed assessment of a shortlist of possible options.
This is consistent with our preferred Expression of Interest (EOI) which we submitted to the Department of Health and Social Care in September 2021 alongside an alternative EOI for a multi-phase development (part new-build and part refurbishment) in a bid to become one of the further new hospital schemes.