Health chiefs in York are considering building an entirely new hospital to replace the “very tired” current one, an NHS governors meeting was told.
Alan Downey, the new chair of the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said it was important “to start thinking about” the long-term plans for the York site, which he described as “not ideal”.
Mr Downey was responding to a question from a governor, Amit Bhagwat, about whether a new building could help reduce the trust’s carbon emissions.
The trust wants to reach a net zero carbon target which relates to the emissions that it directly controls by 2040, with 80 per cent of this delivered by 2032.
Mr Downey said: “There have been, I think, a number of highly speculative discussions already about where would we put a hospital if we didn’t have one in the centre of York.”
He added: “There are lots of reasons, I think, to believe that the York site is not ideal.
“The building is very old and rather tired. Well, actually not very old in NHS terms, but quite old and very tired, and the site is very constrained.
“It’s also probably a very valuable site, so there may be some opportunity there to release some value from the real estate.
“But as to where we would build a new hospital, I have no doubt that that will be an interesting and controversial discussion in its own right.”
Start lobbying now
He said the discussion “will need to be taken forward now in the context of the ICS (Integrated Care System) because it’s not just a question about the needs of the patients of this trust, it’s also a question about the needs of the patients currently served by Harrogate and by Hull, northern Lincolnshire and Goole.”
“But I’m keen that we should start to firm up some of those discussions relatively quickly, because we’re talking about a process that will run for 10-15 years, that sort of timescale, and so it will be too easy to say, well, that’s for the long term.
“But if we don’t start getting our plans together now and start lobbying now and start making the case now, when we get to 10 or 15 years from now, we still won’t be any further forward.”
ICSs are partnerships that bring together providers and commissioners of NHS services across a geographical area with local authorities and other partners to plan health and care services.
They are set to replace Clinical Commissioning Groups later this year.
York will be part of the Humber, Coast and Vale ICS, also covering the rest of North Yorkshire, the East Riding, Hull, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire.