Hospital gets green light for £14m ward extension adding 70 new beds
PUBLISHED: 16:50 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:50 27 September 2019
The county's biggest hospital is in line to get even bigger, after the green light was given to a £14m expansion project.
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) has been granted permission to build a new three-story ward extension, which will create 70 new beds for patients and relieve continued strain on its facilities.
The project will be the first time in two decades that the hospital has expanded in size and comes as it experiences growing demand for its services- particularly in its accident and emergency department.
The innovative design, which has been given the go ahead by South Norfolk Council, will see much of the construction work carried out largely off-site before being lifted by crane onto the existing hospital building.
The extension will be situated between the hospital's two acute medical unit wards, providing extra space for this department, which will also help alleviate pressure on the emergency department.
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Mark Davies, NNUH's outgoing chief executive, said: "It is an exciting time for the hospital and now planning permission has been granted it is all systems go."
With the ground already broken on the project, it is hoped the first two floors of the ward will be open to patients in January 2020, with the third floor opening slightly later.
The expansion is the first phase of a large scale growth plan proposed for the hospital to help staff cope with the influx of patients.
With this phase of the development approved, the hospital trust has been given until Spring 2020 to prepare a full business case to submit to the Department for Health for further improvements.
Mr Davies told board members the department for health had allocated £40m to the business, which he described as fantastic news, adding that the trust would "push hard to get the new outline business case in for the spring".
It is hoped the knock-on effect of the expansion will see front door pressure reduced and prevent ambulances queueing to drop off patients at A&E.
The plans were submitted to South Norfolk Council last month and were approved by officers on delegated authority.