Walsall Manor expansion faces uncertainty in £6m shortfall

A major expansion of Walsall Manor Hospital could face being scaled back after falling more than £6 million short of funding, it has emerged.

A multi-million pound overhaul of the site is being planned including a new critical care unit, an A&E revamp, maternity expansion and decant ward.

But full funding for the initial plans worth more than £30m, which aim to help the Manor cope with rising numbers of patients from Staffordshire, is so far not in place.

It comes after the Government allocated £4.4m less than than the £14m Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust requested to upgrade, in light of the downgrade of Stafford Hospital.

Health bosses say they are now exploring ways to secure all the funding needed in a bid to go ahead with the full expansion and cope with demand.

There were initial proposals to invest £36m, but a second new ward is not deemed as necessary at this stage, bringing the cost down to £31m.

The trust is able to contribute £15m itself towards the revamp, which has been earmarked for over the next three years.

Ian Baines, director of finance and performance at the trust, said: “Unfortunately we did not receive the total allocation of funding that we requested from the Trust Special Administrators (TSA) following the downgrading of services at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

"This has meant that there is a gap in our funding which may mean we are not able to respond as fully as we would like to increasing demands from areas such as South Staffordshire.

"We are continuing to explore the options to secure funding with our partner organisations and the NHS Trust Development Agency so that we can continue with our plans for redevelopment in the future, enabling us to cope with higher demands on our services.”

Plans are already pushing forward for the decant ward which is due to cost £4.7m for the end of the year.

It has been estimated around £8m is needed for the maternity expansion and neonatal unit development, and just over £8.2m for the critical care unit which bosses want to have in place within the next two years.

The biggest project the trust wants to carry out is a £10m redevelopment of the A&E department but is not expected to be ready until 2017.

The hospital has insisted it needs the funding due to demand.

As part of the plans to strip key services from Stafford Hospital, £130million is being put aside for new building works at hospitals in the Midlands.