Hospital chief executive spent £12m on new ward before funding was available

A hospital spent £12million on building a new ward at the start of Covid using funding that was not yet available, a public meeting heard.

Chief executive of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, David Loughton, said he was confident he would secure the money
Chief executive of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, David Loughton, said he was confident he would secure the money

David Loughton, chief executive of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust which runs New Cross Hospital, said the ward houses 56 new beds, complete with air conditioning and a "massive" oxygen supply.

Speaking at the latest meeting of the trust board, he also recalled how Wolverhampton was among the first places to have a coronavirus case, and how hospital staff members were soon swamped with cases.

He said: "I would like to thank the non-executives because I think there is very few non-execs would have kept quiet with what I did at the start of Covid.

"I spent £12million of capital that we didn't have, building a ward of 56 beds, with an air conditioning plan, you know, that is to theatre standards, and an oxygen supply that was massive.

"I would like to thank you because you could have all made life difficult for me, but you didn't, because we didn't know we would get the money, did we?

David Loughton CBE Chief Executive

"But I always knew I would get the money. It was just a matter of how long it took me to get the money and I did not think it would take a year, but there we go."

Speaking later in the meeting, Mr Loughton said: "We had the first death on Sunday, March 8. That was only the fourth death in the country.

"Then we hit the peak on April 10 so the speed and the work load that fell onto the infection prevention control team was absolutely enormous.

"I would like to thank them for what they have done and I am well aware that there has been a personal price that has had to be paid, because the team have made themselves available, way beyond what could be reasonably expected."

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