Community input to be sought for Bath hospital’s £450 million funding bid

Bath residents will play a key role in shaping the Royal United Hospital’s bid to secure up to £450 million in government funding.

Photo © Andrew Harker / Shutterstock.com

Simon Cook, the trust’s new hospital programme director, said it wanted to lock in learning from the Covid-19 pandemic, use technology and allow more patients to be treated at home.

The RUH was one of 21 trusts to be selected to bid for a share of £3.7bn but he is expecting stiff competition.

The trust plans to use a £42 million chunk of the funding to complete the Dyson Cancer Centre, and is also planning to build a new midwifery unit and clear its £50 million maintenance backlog.

Mr Cook told scrutiny councillors on 9th March: “There’s £3.7 billion available over the next four years for hospitals. We’ve just spent over 100 times that as a country during Covid.

“We’re very conscious of the need for us to move quickly and take advantage of the funding that’s available. Our priority is to put in that bid.

“We do see it as a competition. We want to work with the community and local population to shape that bid.

“We want the model of care to be nationally leading, building on the good aspects of the pandemic – it’s been horrendous but there’s been a lot of good learning out of it pointing to how we want to do things in the future.

“We want to develop something that’s fantastic for the people of Bath and the surrounding area.

“It’s important the bid is very modern, makes full use of technology and shifts care into the community, so we aren’t unnecessarily dragging people into the hospital for something that could be done equally well if not better at home.

“Crucial is the engagement plan. We want to co-create what it will look like. We have a lot of clever clinicians but they haven’t got all the answers.

“These are shared challenges and shared opportunities.”

Consultations will take place later this year.

Councillor Vic Pritchard said the bid had the scrutiny panel’s full support.

Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter

Bath Echo