West Midlands Mayor lobbies Government for Walsall Manor Hospital £36m A&E bid
The West Midlands Mayor has made a direct appeal to the Government to sign off on £36 million for a new A&E department at a town hospital.
Walsall Manor Hospital is struggling to cope with increased demand and desperately wants to upgrade its outdated emergency care facilities.
In September the Prime Minister announced that bosses at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust had submitted a £36.2m bid for the cash, but since then there has been no update on its progress.
Now Tory Mayor Andy Street is attempting to give ministers the 'hurry up', after announcing he wants work to start on the building by the end of 2019, with a view to it opening by October 2021.
In a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Mr Street expressed concerns over the state of emergency care at the hospital – an issue that has previously been raised by Walsall North's Tory MP Eddie Hughes.
He said changes to the former Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust had resulted in an increased demand at the Manor.
"Whilst Walsall is happy to share this burden, difficulties in meeting this demand have been compounded by outdated emergency facilities," the Mayor said.
"The emergency department is part of an older and much smaller hospital estate and, as a result, is frequently overcrowded.
"This is having a negative impact on the quality of care afforded to patients and the working conditions for staff."
The trust's funding bid – along with dozens of other bids from hospitals around the country – was put forward in July.
At Prime Minister's Questions in September, Theresa May said she expected successful schemes to be announced by the Department for Health and Social Care in the autumn, a deadline that has now passed.
A business case for the Manor is currently being scrutinised by the NHS Improvement capital funding team.
Mr Street continued: "I hope that you will be able to look personally at what we believe is a strong and special case with the view to securing the funding for Walsall.
"If an agreement on funding can be reached in good time, we should be able to begin work on the project by the end of the next calendar year and improve emergency care for Walsall residents by October 2021."
Trust bosses hope the expansion will allow the A&E department to cater for an extra 8,000 patients a year on top of the 79,000 it currently supports.