£26 million investment in Great Western Hospital welcomed by Swindon MPs

By Jessica Durston - 30 January 2023

CommunityHealth

Swindon MPs have welcomed news that the Government has awarded more than £26 million to GWH to expand urgent and emergency care - improving care for people in Swindon.

Sir Robert Buckland MP and Justin Tomlinson MP have welcomed news of a massive investment into the Swindon's GWH.  

The Government investment is said to come on top of the £5.4 million in internal funding available to the Trust, and represents the biggest ever investment to the hospital site.

The investment is also said to be one of the biggest that the NHS in the South West has ever seen.

Staff say greater bed capacity and better flow through the hospital will better equip it to manage increasing demand from the area’s growing population.

Mr Buckland and Mr Tomlinson added: “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 Hospital's 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, GWH opened its new Urgent Treatment Centre on the hospital site, which marked the first phase of the urgent and emergency care expansion.

Now, it is said that 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 planned ‘front door’ will also have a new Children’s Emergency Department, which will be adjacent to a Paediatric Assessment Unit (PAU).

Staff say this 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 then 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.

A spokesperson added: "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 is said to include clearing the space outside of the Emergency Department and rerouting the urgent and emergency care entrance through the Urgent Treatment Centre.

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