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Wednesday, 3 March, 1999, 16:55 GMT
1.1bn NHS makeover
The London Ambulance service will get some of the 1.1bn
The Department of Health has announced detailed plans for a 1.1bn modernisation programme to overhaul NHS buildings and equipment.

Some 40m of the 1.1bn will go towards eradicating 95% of mixed sex wards over the next two years.

The government says the money is the first real terms increase in capital in the NHS in the last five years.

It covers the next financial year and is the first part of an 8bn three-year plan to invest in new buildings, equipment and facilities to modernise the NHS.

The money comes from the extra 21bn announced for the NHS in England as part of the comprehensive spending review last year.

It will be divided up between over 50 hospitals and other NHS trusts, including the ambulance service.

Among the biggest winners are Guy's and St Thomas' hospital in London which will receive 16m as part of its 100m redevelopment.

The programme also includes:

  • 10.8m for a new, integrated rehabilitation unit in Sunderland;
  • 14.2m for a new obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatology development in Sheffield;
  • 5.8m for improved facilities for elderly people with mental health needs in Leicester;
  • 3.4m for neurosciences facilities in Manchester;
  • 2m for community facilities for people with learning difficulties in Colchester;
  • 2.1m for a new roof for Newham General Hospital in London;
  • 2.9m for new ambulances for the London Ambulance Service;
  • 1.5m for a new mental health unit for Blackburn, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley;
  • 1.6m for a replacement maternity hospital in Wrekin, Shropshire;
  • 753,000 for a new eye surgery, endoscopy suite and new day case unit in Kettering, Northhamptonshire;
  • 250,000 for single-sex accommodation in Southmead, Bristol.

21st century NHS

Health Secretary Frank Dobson said: "This is the first real terms increase in capital for the NHS in the last five years.

"In bricks and mortar, this is a clear indication of our commitment to modernise the NHS for the 21st century. It will make a real difference to local people."

Tim Jones, policy manager for the NHS Confederation, welcomed the new cash.

He said: "It is quite a major increase in the capital available for trusts to upgrade their bricks and mortar, and is the first one we have seen for a number of years.

"The quality of buildings and environment in the NHS is highly variable. A lot of care is still delivered from Victorian institutions."

Mr Jones warned, however, that a lot more cash was needed to tackle the backlog of maintenance and upgrading work needed.

Vanessa Bourne, chairman of the Patients' Association, welcomed news of the money to end mixed sex wards, which patient groups have long campaigned for.

"We are delighted that our campaign has paid offf. Patients made it clear they were opposed to mixed sex wards."

The Association of Community Health Councils also welcomed the extra money, saying many patients felt "uneasy and uncomfortable" on mixed sex wards.

See also:

17 Nov 98 | Health
NHS to get 2.2bn revamp
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