Chichester’s MP, Gillian Keegan has welcomed the news that the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is set to receive an additional £3.7 million to support A&E capacity ahead of the winter months.
The extra £3.7 million means that the Trust will be able to increase its A&E capacity, put enhanced infection prevention and control measures in place and make improvements to emergency care and urgent treatment services.
Under the leadership of Dame Marianne Griffiths, the trust’s chief executive, St Richard’s has already done significant work throughout the pandemic to ensure they were prepared for every eventuality, including expanding the intensive care and ventilator capacity. Mrs Keegan has a close working relationship with Marianne and has been supporting her efforts throughout the pandemic in Government.
Across England, the Government is providing £300 million to A&E departments, with work to be completed by the start of next year so hospitals can benefit from the upgrades during the peak of winter.
In June, the Prime Minister announced plans to accelerate £5 billion of infrastructure spending as part of his New Deal for Britain – an ambitious economic strategy to rebuild Britain by putting jobs, skills and infrastructure investment at the heart of the Government’s plans. This funding forms part of the New Deal, which allocated a total of £1.5 billion this year for hospital maintenance, hospital building and A&E expansion.
The funding also comes on top of the additional £3 billion that the Prime Minister recently announced to help prepare the NHS for the winter months ahead. This funding will allow the NHS to continue to use the extra hospital capacity acquired from the independent sector through the coronavirus pandemic, and also to maintain the Nightingale hospitals until the end of March next year.
Mrs Keegan said: “Over the past months, I have been working closely with St Richard’s who have been exceptional throughout the pandemic. From the get-go, Marianne and her team have worked tirelessly to ensure we were ready for every eventuality.
“Fighting the Coronavirus has been the biggest public health challenge ever faced by the NHS, and those who work within the service have risen to the occasion. I know as a community and a nation we are extremely grateful for their selfless dedication and commitment.
“While we hope for the best this winter, it’s right that we plan for the worst. This funding to upgrade our local A&E and will ensure that we are in the best possible position for the challenges that the winter months may bring.”
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.”