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Monday, June 17, 2024

£27m hospital upgrade for waiting time reduction halted as government funding withdrawn

A £27m hospital upgrade designed to cut waiting times in the city has been shelved after government funding was withdrawn.

Plans for Chapel Allerton Hospital would have created a new centre for planned surgery, easing pressure on NHS services elsewhere in Leeds.

Spinal surgery would be carried out at the Elective Care Hub, which included a new theatre and office extension.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust applied for planning permission last July for the four-storey extension at the hospital on Chapeltown Road.

A report to this week’s meeting of the trust board has revealed that the trust learned of the funding decision in November after the government previously backed the scheme.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals is looking at alternative funding for the project, saying it remains part of long-term plans for NHS services in the city.

Craige Richardson, director of estates and facilities, said: “Over the past couple of years we have been working hard to build a comprehensive business case for an Elective Care Hub at Chapel Allerton Hospital.

“This proposed £27m investment would allow more non-emergency surgeries to take place and reduce waiting times for patients.

“The trust’s business case was initially supported by NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care. In November 2023, the trust received disappointing news that the funding for the scheme was no longer available at this time, following a decision by the then secretary of state.”

Leeds has one of the country’s biggest spinal services, carrying out 1,500 elective procedures, 500 emergency operations and 12,000 clinical appointments each year.

The extension would have included virtual clinics, a garden and a modernised faith room for staff and patients.

Mr Richardson added: “The scheme remains a strategic priority for the trust as a key enabler to help us meet current and future healthcare challenges. There may be other opportunities in the future to fund this scheme, and as a trust, we will explore these as appropriate.”

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