Sutton will see a UK first with the arrival of the “coronavirus-proof” hospital.
We saw the arrival of a temporary hospital earlier in the year with the short-lived NHS Nightingale at the ExCeL Centre, but now London is getting a permanent brand new hospital. Health bosses have approved the construction of a new hospital in Sutton, providing almost 500 beds for specialist emergency care. And, as one of the first new hospitals greenlit in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the aim is for the hospital to be ‘coronavirus-proof’.
Exactly what that means or how it’ll be done hasn’t been made clear yet, but the aim is to futureproof the venue against the lingering impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, and presumably make the place resilient against future waves or new pandemics. Whatever the details, it’s a necessary consideration after the intense strain the pandemic put upon NHS services across London and the UK this spring. The state of the art hospital, which will be built alongside the existing Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research, will treat provide emergency care for six major services, such as acute medicine, resuscitation services, and emergency surgery, and include paediatric and maternity care.
— NHS Surrey Heartlands CCG (@SyHeartlandsCCG) July 3, 2020
The new hospital is expected to cost £500 million, and will replace the A&E facilities at nearby Epsom and St Helier hospitals, which are showing their age a little. Dr Andrew Murray, who chairs the commissioning group which approved the plans, stated that “This will give our residents the quality of care they need in the buildings and facilities our NHS staff deserve.”
However, not everyone is thrilled with the new development; many local residents had voiced opposition over fears that it would limit emergency care in Epsom if their A&E department was relocated to Sutton. Similarly, Siobhan McDonagh, Labour MP for the Mitcham and Morden constituency which houses St Helier Hospital, argued that the plans would “downgrade” St Helier, and called for funds to be allocated to improve the hospital. Furthermore, as the Evening Standard notes, closures across St Helier and Epsom hospitals means that the arrival of the new hospital would only see a net increase of eighteen hospital beds across the trio of sites. Though London is the best city in Europe for hospital care, we can only hope that more state of the art hospitals will help keep the city as healthy as possible.
Also published on Medium.