Three new hospitals on Cambridge Biomedical Campus coming ‘in the next decade’
Building work on the region’s new children’s hospital should be under way in two to three years, according to the chairman of Cambridge University Hospitals.
Mike More told the Cambridge Independent he was hopeful of swift progress on the vital new facility, which has government support.
And he said he hoped the new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital and the rebuild of Addenbrooke’s would also be completed within the next decade.
Progress on plans for the three hospital projects – all earmarked for land around the existing Addenbrooke’s Hospital on Cambridge Biomedical Campus – benefitted from £9.8million of government funding in May, as we reported.
And Dr More said the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic have not derailed the work.
“It’s absolutely central to our vision to carry on that rebuild and new facility work,” he said. “We do seem to have the support of the government to do that and in the context of Covid and lockdown, I imagine the government is keen to get new buildings up as it stimulates the economy.
“We’re seen as being in a good position by the government. I think they respect us for what we have done, the modelling and what we are composing. I am hopeful that Covid is not holding us back.”
Cambridge Children’s, as it will be known, is the most advanced of the projects, with the government pledging £100million for the hospital in December 2018, with a further £50m-£80m expected to be raised for phase one – and a total of £350m potentially required to complete all phases of the work.
Built on land adjacent to Addenbrooke’s and The Rosie hospitals, Cambridge Children’s will integrate mental and physical health care, explore new ways of diagnosing and treating children, including the use of genomic sequencing, and harness digital health technology to help child patients stay at home or in local general facilities.
“The case here is that we’re the only region in the country that has no specialist children’s hospital. This will be a regional facility,” said Dr More.
“We deal with a lot of patients from Luton and Essex. Many will also go into London. If you’re a child in Norwich and the only place you can go to is Great Ormond Street, it would be a lot better to come to Cambridge.
“We have the support of our regional colleagues and it’s also about building mental health provision into this as well.
“Cambridge Children’s is the most pressing. By early next year we should have a much more detailed proposition being put forward. I will be aiming that we will see physical progress – that is, building taking place – in the next two or three years.”
The £220m Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital, meanwhile, will benefit from £50m to be raised by the University of Cambridge.
“It’s about upgrading our cancer facilities whilst at the same time linking into stem cell and genetic research, which is a Cambridge brand if you like, to really take forward our understanding of the early prevention of cancer,” says Dr More.
“So there is a global picture of providing hospital facilities that are better for our patients than our current facilities and taking our understanding of cancer forward.”
Addenbrooke’s 3 -– the name given to the rebuild of the main hospital – also has money earmarked from government.
“Our key there would be to improve the emergency part of the hospital, because I’m very conscious that they haven’t really changed an awful lot since the 70s, which isn’t good enough given the increase in population,” acknowledged Dr More.
“The cancer hospital and Addenbrooke’s 3 have slightly longer timescales, but my hope is that within 10 years from today that those will be accomplished. I wish it was quicker and if we can bring it forward quicker, we will.”
Progress on the longer-term vision for these hospitals is reassuring at a time when disruption and uncertainty have become the norm in so many aspects of life.
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