The Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge the NHS has faced since its foundation. Over the past few months, our clinicians have considered what impact these changes might have on our plans for a new Whipps Cross hospital. Their conclusion is that our overall vision for its future health and care services remains valid, but we will need to adapt some of the detail in implementing it. In ‘Health and care in a new Whipps Cross Hospital’we have set out our plans for the future of health and care services in a new Whipps Cross Hospital.
We can therefore reaffirm that the new hospital will continue to deliver the same core services as today, including Accident and Emergency (A&E), and Maternity services. And we are still committed to establishing Whipps Cross as a centre of expertise for the way different professionals work together in the treatment and care of frail and older people. As we set out in ‘Building a Brighter Future for Whipps Cross – moving to the next stage’, the opportunity a new hospital offers is to achieve these ends in innovative ways that improve quality and access for all patients.
What we have learned from responding to Covid-19 so far has actually reinforced the direction of travel we envisaged for Whipps Cross. As a result, the existing hospital has already put changes in place that we proposed for the new building. These are positive changes we wanted to make, that are taking place sooner than we hoped.
In addition, we now anticipate making further changes to the “front door” model of the new hospital to account for the expectation that more people will access services by being referred from GPs or NHS 111, rather than walking in as at present. In preparing for the prospect of any future Covid surge, the restoration of elective services is also increasingly being planned across north east London, and this may affect the future pattern of surgery at Whipps Cross. Taking these factors, together with the ongoing infection prevention and control requirements, will affect how we organise space within the design of a new hospital.
We recently appointed Ryder Architecture to start working up ideas for what a new hospital might look like, taking into account the need to keep learning from the pandemic as long as it continues. Our early assessment is that we may need more single rooms than we thought, more entrances to the new hospital, and the flexibility to divide up space differently in waiting areas and on wards to isolate patients when necessary.
Further work will be required in some other areas, such as the space outside the hospital. We have identified the opportunity for a building that could house complementary primary and community facilities. We and our local partners are considering what services could benefit from being co-located at Whipps Cross, to improve community facilities and to strengthen the provision of integrated care on the site.
As we work towards submitting a full business case for the redevelopment, we intend to take every opportunity to get feedback and input from the local people who will benefit from the new hospital, including patients, staff and the local community. As part of this, we are holding a series of virtual public meetings with local partners to present an update on the redevelopment project, answer questions and hear your views, to help further shape our plans for a new Whipps Cross.
The public meetings will take place across the three local boroughs on the following dates:
15 October, 6:30-8:30pm
29 October, 6:30-8:30pm
Epping Forest District
12 November 6:30-8:30pm
Register to attend at: futurewx.eventbrite.co.uk
For further information visit our website www.bartshealth.nhs.uk/future-whipps
Please let us know what you think about our plans, either by attending the public meetings, joining the Twitter conversation through #FutureWhipps, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org