Today in Parliament, the Health Secretary announced that the money needed for the expansion and improvement of Shotley Bridge Hospital is to be delivered in its entirety as part of the Government’s £20bn Hospital Building Programme.
Since being elected in 2019, reversing the decades of decline of healthcare services in North West Durham has been one of Richard’s biggest priorities. Delivering on this hospital funding concludes a huge campaign of Richard’s. Particularly as, when he was elected it was clear that there was not going to be a serious proposal for the current community hospital, but a further downgrade to a smaller facility with just £20 million on the table from NHS England.
This money is a game-changer. Before Richard was elected, a zero-bed downgrade was on the cards, now with this massive investment there will be a doubling of the current 8-bed facility to 16-beds. In the plans, chemotherapy services will be dramatically increased, making Shotley Bridge the Trust’s lead for chemotherapy. In addition to this, there will be a state-of-the-art diagnostic hub, with a brand new mobile CT and MRI scanner that will encourage easy access to early diagnosis, saving lives across our area.
The Urgent Treatment Centre at the new facility will be not only maintained but expanded, with two further UTC rooms to boost capacity. Furthermore, there will be an improved provision of women’s services, primary and community care facilities on top of a better family health service provision all round.
Better still, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, of which the new facilities are a part, are ensuring T-Levels, the new advanced vocational qualification, will be available at Shotley Bridge alongside New College Durham so they can source local staff for good, high-skill, high-wage jobs in the hospital. Moreover, local builders and suppliers will be used as far as practicable in the construction. This means that not only will there be improved healthcare outcomes, but this new facility will provide a massive uplift before, during and after completion felt right across the local area.
All in all, this is a massive overhaul and improvement of the existing facilities in almost every area at Shotley Bridge. This unprecedented investment by the Government will undoubtedly lead to better healthcare outcomes for local people, creating benefits in North West Durham across the board.
Commenting, Richard Holden MP said:
“Ever since I was elected as MP for North West Durham, the campaign for Shotley Bridge Hospital has been my top priority. It is fantastic to see this confirmed by the Health Secretary in Parliament today, with the money needed for the project delivered in full. This will make a massive difference to us in North West Durham.
“Shotley Bridge has been crying out for investment for years. Despite this, it has only been mentioned twice in the previous 20 years in Parliament before I was elected. I was determined to change this, so in the last three and a bit years it’s been talked about 24 times, and had its own debate after I secured time for that. Historically, MPs have taken this part of the world for granted so investments like these have passed us by. I am so glad this is no longer the case and in this, and many other areas, investment that people will feel is being pumped into North West Durham.
“Thank you so much to the Government for this vote of confidence in our community. More importantly though, thanks to everyone that backed this important campaign. While it is fantastic to see hard work pay off, what I will enjoy more is seeing the huge difference this will undoubtedly make to the local area, both in its construction phase and also upon completion. I look forward to spades in the ground within the next 12 months.”