Swindon MPs Welcome Biggest Ever Investment in Great Western Hospital
Swindon MPs Sir Robert Buckland and Justin Tomlinson have welcomed news that the Government has awarded more than £26 million to Great Western Hospital to expand urgent and emergency care – improving care for people in Swindon and Wiltshire.
The government investment comes on top of £5.4 million in internal funding available to the Trust, and represents the biggest ever investment to the hospital site and one the biggest that the NHS in the South West has seen.
Greater bed capacity and better flow through the hospital will better equip it to manage increasing demand from the area’s growing population.
Sir Robert Buckland MP and Justin Tomlinson MP said
“We are both delighted that we have secured this important investment in the GWH. We lobbied to deliver this funding and the Government has rightly seen how it will transform both emergency care and transitional care in Swindon.
“This new £26 million investment will ensure the patients can get access to the right treatment, in the right place, at the right time.”
Health Minister Lord Markham said
“This is a significant milestone for the 750,000 people in Swindon and the surrounding areas – the expansion of the urgent and emergency care facilities at the Great Western Hospital will mean more people can be treated closer to home, improving patient experience and ensuring staff are better equipped to manage increasing demand.
“Backed by over £26 million of government funding – the biggest ever investment in this site – a single urgent and emergency care unit will be created, combining a number of different services under one roof to enable patients to receive the right care more quickly, boosting health outcomes and reducing the time spent in hospital.
“This is part of our commitment to upgrade hospitals across the country and improve access to emergency care, to provide the best possible services for patients and staff.”
Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Kevin McNamara said:
“This is an extraordinary milestone for the organisation and is the biggest investment we have made to the hospital site since it opened 20 years ago.
“Expanding and improving our urgent and emergency care services will make a huge difference to the 750,000 people living in Swindon and the wider area, many of whom will come to us for care at some point in their lives
“When the hospital was first built, the Emergency Department was designed to care for around 48,000 patients a year. As the local population has grown, the department is now seeing up to 83,000 patients a year – nearly double.
“We knew that this was not sustainable, and I’m pleased that the time has now come for us to be able to expand and streamline our services so that they can meet the demand.
“The new building will also provide a better experience for patients, with more space, modernised facilities and fully inclusive accessibility.”
In July 2022, the new Urgent Treatment Centre was opened on the Great Western Hospital site, which marked the first phase of the urgent and emergency care expansion.
Now, efforts are focused on refurbishing and expanding the Emergency Department, and relocating a number of other services, including assessment units, to create one single urgent and emergency care service.
This new ‘front door’ will also have a new Children’s Emergency Department, which will be adjacent to a Paediatric Assessment Unit (PAU).
The new urgent and emergency care expansion will bring together Emergency Department majors, Emergency Department resuscitation, observation, Same Day Emergency Care and Joint Initial Assessment in one space. The Children’s Emergency Department will sit alongside it.
All of these services will also link directly with the Urgent Treatment Centre, so that patients can easily be moved around the department to receive the right care depending on their clinical needs.
Expanding Same Day Emergency Care will reduce admissions and shorten length of stay. The co-location of services will also ensure a more rapid discharge for patients who do not need admitting to a ward, and quicker handover times for ambulance crews so they can get back on the road.
Moving some services from other areas of the hospital, such as the Paediatric Assessment Unit currently located on the second floor, to the ground floor will also free up space for more clinical activity or inpatient beds.
Enabling works have already started to prepare the site for construction. This includes clearing the space outside of the Emergency Department and rerouting the urgent and emergency care entrance through the Urgent Treatment Centre.
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock came to South Swindon to campaign with me on the doorstep. Matt said no other MP had lobbied him more than me on local NHS services.
My hard work paid off, and I was delighted this resulted in a £30m commitment for a new expanded A&E here in Swindon, as well as support for the new Radiotherapy Centre.
Alongside this, the Conservatives are increasing the annual budget of the NHS by £33.9 billion by 2023/24, which is the largest, longest funding settlement in the history of the NHS. This will be a 3.4% increase year on year and will mean more doctors and nurses right across the UK, as well as here in South Swindon.
We’re also going to make it easier for you to visit your GP, with 50 million more appointments in GP surgeries and easier ways to book appointments.
And we're introducing a new visa to attract the best doctors and nurses to work in our NHS.
Both as an MP and as a local resident here in Swindon South, no-one will work harder than me to continue championing our fantastic local health professionals, and securing our share of the additional funding for the NHS.
- We are increasing funding to the NHS so it remains the best in the world.
- Since 2010, we have increased NHS spending each and every year, even as we had to take difficult decisions elsewhere to fix our nations' finances.
- We will increase the NHS budget by 3.4% every year, beating Labour's manifesto pledge to increase the NHS budget by only 2% every year, which they said would make our health service the "envy of the world".
- This plan is fully costed, as we will use the money returned from Brussels after we leave the EU to fund it.
- Our long term plan for the NHS provides an extra £20.5 billion a year, or £394 million a week for the NHS so that our patients can receive world-class care. This added investment will ensure that the NHS can plan for the future, deal with the pressures it faces and continue to be there when people need to it most.
- We have asked the NHS to produce a plan, led by doctors, to ensure that inefficiencies are dealt with within our health service so that it keeps providing world-class care for everyone.
- We have recruited 21,000 new mental health workers in England in order to properly integrate mental and physical health services. We have also introduced the first mental health waiting targets, and 7-day GP services across the country, all of which help will tackle this problem in the UK.
The NHS in Swindon:
I worked with the late Dr Peter Crouch, Clinical Chair of Swindon’s Clinical Commissioning Group and my colleague, Justin Tomlinson, for a change to the funding formula and for a dedicated Radiotherapy Unit here in Swindon.
Following this work, NHS England announced that it would amend the funding formula.
Under the old system, Swindon CCG would have received an annual increase of £5-6 million a year. However, under the new allocation formula, annual growth for Swindon instead ranges between £7million and £12million per annum. When the cumulative impact of the introduction of the new allocation formula is taken into consideration, instead of receiving an increase of £30 million between 2016 and 2021, the CCG will now receive an increase of around £44 million.
Overall, the change driven by the new formula represents an increase in cumulative investment in the Swindon CCG healthcare economy of £45 million over five years, with investment up from £82 million to £127 million.
At the same time as the changes to the funding formula were announced, the proposed Radiotherapy Unit at the Great Western Hospital was finally given the green light.
For too long, cancer patients from Swindon have suffered the pain & discomfort of having to travel hundreds of miles every year in round-trips to Bristol & Oxford for treatment. Securing this new facility, right at the heart of the GWH, and delivering a five-year cumulative investment of £127 million means that patients in Swindon will benefit from both of these significant improvements.