09:12AM, Friday 09 December 2016
Plans for a new £49m A&E and assessment centre at Wexham Park Hospital have taken a major step forward after Slough Borough Council’s (SBC) planners approved a landmark application.
Councillors unanimously approved the plan, saying it would help cope with the town’s increasing population and healthcare demands.
The four-storey building will have an emergency department with children’s and minor injuries units, and 36 major injury rooms.
The 5,000sqm facility will also have specialist assessment units and staff areas on its top floor.
NHS Frimley Health Foundation Trust, which runs Wexham Park Hospital, said the building’s efficient design and modern facilities will help it cope with its 400,000-person catchment area and meet growing demand for its services.
Speaking after the meeting on Wednesday, committee member Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) said: “Anyone who’s used the hospital knows how much we need better capacity and facilities.”
The new building will be built on the hospital’s existing hard-standing car park. Plans include an extra 198 permanent visitor and 200 temporary staff parking spaces. The trust is already adding more car parking spaces and says an extra 550 will be on site when the project is completed.
Final approval will be needed by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid because the hospital sits on greenbelt land. The Department of Health is expected to decide by April 2017 whether to provide funding for the unit based on the trust’s business case.
It is expected to stump up £39m for the development while the remaining £10m will be funded by the Frimley Health trust.
Subject to approval, construction is expected to start in spring 2017 and finish by spring 2019.
A trust spokesman said: “We believe it will be a fantastic service for people in Slough and beyond and we believe it’s the right thing to do and that it will be money well spent.”
SBC’s deputy leader and commissioner for health and social care, Cllr Sabia Hussain (Lab, Central), added: “I’m glad that it’s been approved by the committee. It’s a much needed investment for the future sustainability for our healthcare system.”
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Wexham Park Hospital has urged members of the public to minimise pressures on services tomorrow by considering other treatment options before attending as the emergency department moves into the new assessment centre.