£9.8m to develop plans for new Addenbrooke’s, children’s hospital and cancer research hospital
The development of a new Addenbrooke’s, a children’s hospital and a cancer research hospital have been bolstered by £9.8million of government funding.
The money will pay for continued work on the plans for the new hospitals on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
While little detail about ‘Addenbrooke’s 3’ has been revealed yet, the intention is to include a centre for emergency care.
Plans are further advanced for Cambridge Children’s, as it will be known. A specialist children’s hospital, it will integrate mental and physical health and channel research. A strategic outline case has been presented to the government and NHS England, and £100million of funding has been approved by health secretary Matt Hancock.
Meanwhile, an outline business case for the £220million proposed Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital was completed last year, and the University of Cambridge has committed £50million to the project.
Announcing the latest tranche of funding for the project, Roland Sinker, the chief executive of Cambridge University Hospitals, said: “Keeping these developments on track has never been more vital for patients.”
Some of the land earmarked for the new hospitals could be put to use in the meantime, however, for the proposed temporary 120-bed facility drawn up to meet a possible surge in demand for Covid-19 patients.
But Mr Sinker said no firm decision had yet been made on whether to build the facility.
The immediate challenge for Addenbrooke’s is restarting elective surgery.
Mr Sinker said: “The logistical complexity of reopening the services that we have shut down to manage the Covid-19 outbreak cannot be overstated. This is a challenge we will face together and our clinicians are leading the way in designing our future operating model.
“A first step is to increase the amount of surgery that we undertake here at CUH and in the private sector. We are already providing cancer surgery at the Nuffield and Spire hospitals in Cambridge and from May 11 we hope to start operating in the Addenbrooke’s Treatment Centre, working through a risk-assessed list of urgent elective cases.
“This is a big step forward and we have plans to expand further as fast as we can, while maintaining the safety of our patients and staff. We are overcoming many challenges to enable this, one of which is ensuring that we have consistent supplies of PPE.”
Praising the trust’s “fantastic team” and their collaborators, he added: “Speaking to staff this week, I’m sensing that there is real tiredness and continued anxiety, but also an emerging focus on what comes next here at CUH, and what this might mean for our patients, our services and our staff.”
The hospital observed a minute’s silence last week for healthcare workers who have lost their lives - more than 100 NHS workers have died from Covid-19 nationwide.
“Each one of these deaths is felt across the whole of our NHS workforce and it was incredibly moving to witness the CUH staff body coming together to remember those who have lost their lives,” said Mr Sinker.
And he confirmed that in light of evidence showing people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds were disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, a Covid-19 BAME staff health taskforce has been set up at CUH.
“There is an urgent need to understand what the risks are for our colleagues. National studies are under way which we are linking in with,” he said.
Mr Sinker also praised all those involved in helping the trust “take big steps forward” in testing.
“All patients admitted to CUH are now swabbed for Covid-19 even if they are symptom free and a serology test is also available,” he explained. “This test looks to see whether someone shows signs that an immune response to coronavirus has been triggered and an interpretation of these tests is provided with the results.
“Staff are also able to be tested if they are symptomatic and we have broadened the symptoms out to include any that might be suggestive of viral infection including sore throat and muscle pain. Testing of groups of asymptomatic staff is taking place in areas where we are treating Covid-19 patients.”
The new testing facility established by the University of Cambridge, AstraZeneca and GSK opened on May 4 at the Anne McLaren Building on the biomedical campus, aiming to run 30,000 tests a day by the end of the month.
“This will help the country to emerge from lockdown by providing a rapid test service that enables track and trace services to operate effectively,” said Mr Sinker.