An NHS trust in the East Midlands is set to appoint a main contractor for the first chunk of works on a major overhaul of its estate.
Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust said it would select a principal supply chain partner from the ProCure23 framework after receiving the green light for enabling works on the long-awaited project.
The organisation this week revealed that ministers were allowing it to use £38m of government funding, initially earmarked for an urgent-care hub, to instead progress the larger redevelopment, which forms part of the government’s New Hospital Programme.
As well as replacing an ageing accident and emergency department with the hub, the overall rebuild will create new wards, operating theatres, and imaging and investigation facilities, along with an energy centre and new main entrance.
Enabling works will begin with the replacement of temporary boilers and the upgrade of electrical infrastructure before older buildings are eventually demolished to make way for new development.
Local MP Philip Hollobone hailed a “really important day for Kettering”.
“This is the start of the biggest-ever investment in our local NHS and will provide local residents with the expanded hospital we need for the years ahead,” he said.
Health secretary Steve Barclay said: “As part of our New Hospital Programme, patients and staff in Kettering will benefit from new state-of-the-art facilities to improve care and speed up diagnosis.
“I am pleased the trust can drive forward with these essential early building works, including upgrading 50-year-old electrical infrastructure, which we discussed during my visit in August.”
Hospital chief executive Deborah Needham said that there was an “urgent need” to make the hospital suitable for a rapidly growing local population.
Kettering General Hospital director of strategy Polly Grimmett added: “It is great news that we now have the official go-ahead to start enabling works that will pave the way for our hospital rebuild.
“One of the first things we will do is start work to prepare our site for a new energy centre and for new electrical infrastructure. This is a vital foundation for the rebuild and will help to reduce some of the considerable risks we face on a daily basis working with old facilities on a large and extremely busy hospital site.”
The Liberal Democrats last week claimed that budget details revealed in chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement could mean a delay to the government’s £3.7bn plan to build 40 new hospitals by 2030.
Meanwhile, Kier, Wates and a joint venture between Mace and Willmott Dixon are among a long list of major contractors on the ProCure23 framework.