£10.2m funding boost for Cheltenham General Hospital

8 Feb 2023, 11 a.m.

Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH) is set to benefit from a £10.2m investment to build a new orthopaedic theatre and birthing unit.

The Hospitals’ Trust has secured £7.5m government funding to build a purpose-built theatre dedicated to orthopaedic surgery such as hip and knee replacements and £2.7m to transform the birthing unit into a purpose-built midwifery-led birthing unit.

In addition to the new theatre, there will also be new high-tech equipment including ultra-clean ventilation, viewing monitors, multi-use carbon fibre theatre tables, state-of-the-art operating equipment and x-ray facilities with the future possibilities of using robotic-assisted surgery.

The birthing unit will be relocated to the ground floor of the St Paul’s wing, improving accessibility and patient experience. It will have two birthing rooms, each with birthing pools, a communal pantry with associated facilities and community midwives’ facilities.

Subject to planning permission works are due to start later in the year and be completed within 18/24 months.

This latest funding round comes on top of a £112m-plus programme already announced which will transform the way patient care is delivered at Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals (GRH). Across each site the money is being used to construct new buildings, provide cutting-edge technology, develop pioneering clinical practice, digital transformation and green initiatives.

While the spending marks a major investment in hospital services over the next two years the leadership team is continuing to prioritise additional funding sources.

Clinicians say the investment will provide the next generation of care and will:

  • Improve patients’ outcomes
  • Help reduce waiting times
  • Ensure fewer operations are cancelled
  • Enable more patients to receive the right care at the right time in the right place
  • Enhance safe staffing levels
  • Attract and retain the very best staff.

Mr Navraj Atwal, Speciality Director for Orthopaedics and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, said: “This is an exciting announcement. By prioritising planned care on our Cheltenham site in the way that we have, this money enables us to take the next step in providing additional theatre capacity to treat more patients. In the fullness of time, we believe that this theatre will enable us to treat additional 1,000-plus patients per year making us the busiest orthopaedic centre in the region.”

The money will help bring down the waiting list built up over the pandemic as procedures such as hip and knee replacements were stopped in response to increased numbers of COVID patients.

The orthopaedic team places a real focus on post-operative recovery and rehabilitation and has an increasingly impressive reputation regionally and nationally.

We are incredibly excited about the possibilities that this investment will bring to midwifery in Cheltenham and the east of the county.

Lisa Stephens, Interim Director of Midwifery

Lisa continues "The challenges in midwifery have been well documented recently and this investment demonstrates our long-term commitment to service provision in the area. This presents us with a fantastic opportunity to provide the next generation of care in the best possible environment for both our patients and staff.”

Deborah Lee added: “I hope this investment, and subsequent investments at Cheltenham, puts to bed any lasting speculation that the hospital doesn’t have a future or is somehow under threat. We view our two hospitals as an opportunity. We demonstrated this in the way we managed and responded during the pandemic and we are now seeing this in the way that we plan for the county’s long-term provision of acute hospital services.”

Meanwhile, as part of a wider £112m-plus works programme, Chedworth Surgical Suite at CGH will open in the spring at a cost of £7.9m. As part of the build, there will be a new reception area, 27 private pre-operative/post-operative rooms and one treatment room. The building will provide a modern, purpose-built environment for up to an extra 2,500-day surgery patient a year.

Linked to the new unit is the development of two new theatres at a cost of £9.3m, which, when completed next autumn/winter 2023, will treat approximately 2,500 more patients. Combined the new facilities will have a significant impact on the waiting list built up over the pandemic, improve outcomes, reduce the possibility of cancellations and enhance the patient experience.

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