Sutton will see the UK first with the arrival of the “coronavirus-proof” hospital.
Earlier in the year, we saw the arrival of a temporary hospital with the ExCeL Centre’s short-lived NHS Nightingale, but now London is getting a brand new permanent hospital. Health bosses have approved the construction of a new hospital in Sutton which provides nearly 500 beds for emergency specialist services. And, as one of the first new hospitals in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the aim is to make the hospital’ coronavirus-proof.’
Precisely 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 consequences of the coronavirus outbreak, and likely make the place resilient against future waves and new pandemics. Whatever the details, it’s an important consideration after the enormous 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.
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 residents had voiced anger 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 requested 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 rise 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 capital as healthy as possible.