Hospital announces expansion plan

MORE than 50 new beds and 100 extra staff are to be provided at a leading Essex hospital later this year to meet a growing demand from patients.

Roddy Ashworth

MORE than 50 new beds and 100 extra staff are to be provided at a leading Essex hospital later this year to meet a growing demand from patients.

Colchester General Hospital missed a number of key Government targets last winter after the sheer volume of accident and emergency cases spilt over to using beds set aside for pre-booked operations, leading to cancellations.

Now it has announced plans to increase capacity for this winter, including the building of a new �13.3million two-storey ward block.


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The move comes as part of a �114million five year plan to be published within weeks by the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust that has only been made possible by its obtaining foundation status.

This means it can reinvest a surplus from last year and borrow in 2011/12 and 2012/13 to fund the package.

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Yesterday, a spokesman said: “Last winter the trust experienced extremely high demand for its emergency services, which meant we narrowly failed to achieve two key national standards in the final quarter of 2008/09.

“These were the four-hour A&E access target of 98% and the 18 week referral to treatment target of 90%.

“The trust has developed detailed plans to increase capacity, both in terms of beds and staff, in order to ensure that we are better prepared for next winter and to sustain an improved performance into the future.

“During the current year, our investments will result in 53 additional beds and by late autumn we should have an extra 100 staff in post.

“Our biggest project this year is to start the design-and-build of a two-storey �13.3m ward block.

“It is part of an ambitious �114m capital programme for the next five years, with more than a quarter of that total (�30m) being spent in the current financial year.

“As well as investment in new buildings, the five year capital programme includes equipment (�11.6m), information management and technology (�13.8m) and backlog maintenance (�10.7m).”

The spokesman added that as well as increasing capacity the trust was also looking at ways to increase efficiency at the hospital.

This includes working closely with its partners, such as NHS North East Essex and Essex County Council Adult Social Services, to further improve performance.

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