22 Jun 2020, 8:19 a.m.

Exciting plans to transform Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals as part of a £39.5m investment have taken a step forward after planning applications were submitted.

Architects IDP Health has submitted applications for full planning permission to Cheltenham Borough Council and Gloucester City Council. Under the plans Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH) will benefit from better day case surgery facilities with the development of two additional theatres and a Day Surgery Unit. The new facilities will improve patient experience, reduce waiting lists and result in fewer operations being cancelled.

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH) will benefit from an improved Emergency Department and acute medical care facilities designed to speed up diagnosis, assessment and treatment. There will be a redesigned outpatients and fracture clinic accommodation for orthopaedic outpatients, additional x-ray capacity and a programme of ward refurbishment.

Deborah Lee, Chief Executive, said: “This is a real milestone in our journey to deliver better care for our patients. Subject to planning permission and the successful navigation of the final business case through various checkpoints including internal and external audits, we could see work begin on site next year and the possibility of the buildings being open to patients in 2023.

“Not only will these developments provide additional capacity across both our sites, which is much needed, but they will also ensure we can provide care in a more modern and befitting environment.”

Professor Mark Pietroni, Director of Safety and Medical Director, said: “Once completed, colleagues and patients will have a more modern, spacious environment in which to work and receive care, enabling our teams to achieve their ambitions of delivering even better patient care.

“In particular, the work at Cheltenham will enhance theatre capacity and in doing so will ensure fewer patients from the county will have to travel out of Gloucestershire for treatment. Meanwhile at GRH the plans will help to relieve crowding ED during busy periods which is something both patients and staff have flagged as a priority.”

Capital funding was awarded by NHS England in 2018 and was allocated under the Gloucestershire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), now called Gloucestershire’s Integrated Care System. The funding allocation is recognition of the strong partnership working between health, social care and the voluntary sector in the county.

Gloucestershire’s ICS sets out a vision for how high quality health and care services can be sustainably delivered in the future. The plan puts a greater emphasis on prevention of illness, supporting more self-care, providing more joined up care and support in the community and developing hospital services to ensure safety and quality.

While the funding was allocated in 2018, much work has been underway behind the scenes as part of a rigorous pre-build process to ensure the right facilities are provided. These planning applications mark a significant step forward in that process.

Subject to planning permission and additional audit assurance processes, work will start on site next year (2021) with the aim of new patients being treated in 2023.

Building contractor Kier has been appointed as the contractor of choice to complete the work. Kier has successfully overseen some of the county’s most iconic construction developments in recent times including the new grand stand at Cheltenham Racecourse, the rejuvenation of the Gloucester city centre bus station as well as the future development of the Quayside regeneration master plan which will see a new health centre being built on the site of the city’s old prison.