New A&E at Queen Alexandra Hospital could be built on Cosham site car park

PLANS for a new A&E set to last 30 years are growing apace as Queen Alexandra Hospital bosses seize the ‘massive opportunity’ to build anew.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 6:00 am

Project leaders at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust have drawn up three options for the £58m rebuild to replace the 1979-built current overrun department.

Current options include an extension and refurbishment, a new build on the east multi-storey staff car park, or a new build on the north car park next to the rehabilitation centre. Any lost car parking spaces would be replaced.

Chief executive Mark Cubbon told The News: ‘This is a massive opportunity. We have got the money and we know we need to do it.

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The accident and emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (14131-18). File photo from 2014

‘For our patients we know the environment that we have isn’t as good as we would like it to be.

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‘We have tried lots of different things to make sure it looks as good and we try and navigate patients round it.

‘It was purpose built at the time to see the volume of patients it used to see but over the over the years we have had more patients using the same service and facility so we want it to be as good as the rest of the hospital.

The accident and emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (14131-4). File photo from 2014

‘We want to make sure we are able to have a facility that fits the needs of our population for the next 30 years and that would be an amazing thing to do for our community.’

Patients and visitors will get the chance next year to have their say on the options.

The design team includes clinicians to ensure the new department works best for staff.

Construction is scheduled for 2021 with it open to patients by 2023.

The accident and emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (14131-13). File photo from 2014

Last year saw 16,000 more patients admitted to A&E compared with five years ago and the trust wants to make sure the facilities will work for the next three decades.

Currently the A&E department sees 20 per cent more patients than it was designed to see.

Speaking about whether more staff would be needed for the site, Mr Cubbon said: ‘We have a big bank of staff already and we will be making some assumptions on how many more patients will be using our services in the future.

‘Depending on the layout it may require some more staff but that is something we will be planning within our case review.’

Trust board papers revealed the possibility of a private finance-initiative scheme to provide extra funds if the project runs over the budget. Such a PFI deal costing £1bn for the Cosham hospital around 15 years ago has cost taxpayers £1.7bn.

But Mr Cubbon added his team would be ‘really disciplined’ about not adding on extra costs outside of their grant cash.

He said: ‘If there is any need, and we are not planning on this, for the cost to be increased then we will look at other means but we are not going in to this project thinking it will cost more than the £58m we have.’