A brand new Whipps Cross hospital would have at least as many overnight beds as the current site, if that is required to meet local demand for healthcare at the time of opening.
The redevelopment team gave this commitment to MPs who raised concerns that fewer inpatient beds would not keep pace with anticipated population growth in Waltham Forest and Redbridge.
The new hospital is designed to be flexible and accommodate the right number of beds for the configuration of clinical services required at any point. Hospital bed numbers fluctuate according to demand, for example during peak periods in winter.
The number of beds actually needed by 2026 will also reflect improvements in medical care. Many overnight patients will need to spend far less time in the new hospital, for example, while the number of day case operations will increase by 50%.
Other new, more and better services include additional emergency care through a dedicated same-day centre, and a near doubling of CT and MRI scans. Together these will provide faster, better treatment and reduce the need to admit patients to hospital.
There will be a one-third increase in outpatient procedures, too, and half of all outpatient appointments will be virtual. With over a third more clinical space, the new hospital will expand four-fold the proportion of single rooms with the latest smart bed technology, improving the care and experience of those admitted.
In a letter to local MPs, Alastair Finney, redevelopment director, said the new hospital would also treat and care for more people through closer integration with local community services. For example, we will continue to provide the specialist palliative and end-of-life care for which the Margaret Centre is known, but are working with St Joseph’s Hospice and others to develop an end-of-life care offer for those people who do not need or want specialist hospital treatment.
He said: “Having listened to people’s concerns, we reviewed our plans and designs again, and will be able to provide at least the same number of overnight inpatient beds in the new hospital as are provided at present. We remain committed to flexibility in both planning and design, and this will allow us to maintain the bed base rather than reduce it, should that prove necessary.”
The letter also pointed out that the recent flooding on the ageing Whipps Cross site reinforced the case for building a new, modern, hospital as soon as possible.
To find out more about the Whipps Cross Hospital Redevelopment visit bartshealth.nhs.uk/future-whipps