Government scheme to build eight new hospitals has attracted 120 bids, Boris Johnson reveals

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed there have been 120 applications to a Government scheme to build eight new hospitals after being pressed to include a proposed carbon-neutral site in Yorkshire among the successful bids.

Robbie Moore, Conservative MP for Keighley, said he hoped that the proposal to rebuild Airedale Hospital on its existing site as ‘‘Europe’s first carbon neutral hospital’’ would be granted approval as he raised the matter at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday.

Mr Moore said: “Airedale General Hospital, in my constituency, is made predominantly from aerated concrete, which is known for its structural deficiencies, and is in desperate need of a rebuild. As the Prime Minister will know, the hospital recently submitted to the Government its bid for a brand-new carbon-neutral building.”

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He said he was making “an urgent plea to the Prime Minister for the Airedale” to be among the new hospitals.

Boris Johnson revealed details about the application process during Prime Minister's Questions.

Mr Johnson said: “I can tell him that we have received 120 applications for the biggest hospital building programme in a generation, and that his application will certainly be among those that will receive our most urgent consideration.”

It comes after the Government announced an initial £3.7bn worth of investment to build 40 new hospitals in England, naming 32 that would be part of the programme in October 2020.

In July, it launched a selection process to find the final eight sites, with a decision due to be announced in spring next year.

A bid has also been submitted by health bosses in Doncaster in a bid to replace the ageing Doncaster Royal Infirmary. Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher told Parliament last week that a new hospital was an “absolutely necessity” following a second major water leak in the DRI’s maternity unit in just six months.The plans submitted for the Airedale scheme highlight that the current building is more than 60 years old, with officials saying its age and condition “make it difficult to deliver digitally enabled care and is not suited to meet carbon neutral goals”.

As the bid was submitted last month, Brendan Brown, Chief Executive for Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have put together a compelling case that highlights that doing nothing is not an option for us at Airedale due to our buildings now reaching the end of their life.

“Our plans would see us create the first carbon neutral hospital in Europe, directly contributing to local and global efforts to combat climate change.

“Our proposal builds on detailed discussions with colleagues in NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Department of Health.”

When the selection process for the eight new sites was opened in July, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our plans to deliver 40 new hospitals across the country by 2030 will help us build a better NHS and transform NHS services for local communities.

“The selection process for the further eight new schemes is a huge opportunity for more areas to benefit from the biggest hospital building programme in a generation, and I encourage trusts to apply.

“We will take forward the bold and ambitious plans to improve care, level up investment and prioritise sustainable design.”

While final decisions are expected in spring, the Government has said that a longlist of schemes will be published later this year with those selected entering “a more detailed second stage process”.

The process will prioritise “fair allocations of investment to level up across regions”.

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