04:41PM, Monday 28 March 2022
The new Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot opened to its first patients today (Monday)
The new Heatherwood Hospital which opened in Ascot today (Monday) will be used to tackle the backlog in procedures caused by COVID-19, the NHS has announced.
It will be run by the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust and house six operating theatres and 48 inpatient beds for patients across Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey.
An elective recovery plan - published in February - set out a blueprint to address backlogs built up during the pandemic and aims to increase capacity over the next three years to deliver around 17million diagnostic tests.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said: “This fantastic new facility shows how the NHS is adapting and changing to meet current demands – putting in practice what we learnt about planned care during the pandemic.
“While new dedicated surgical hubs have been made available across the country to help protect non-urgent care, this hospital is the first purpose built facility aimed at tackling backlogs and getting quicker checks and treatments for patients who need routine care.”
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, added: “This brand-new hospital will be the first of its kind on our road to recovery and reform, putting patients in need of non-urgent care first and helping them to get the checks and treatments they need.
“We are delivering on our promise to tackle the COVID backlogs by ramping up routine surgery and providing quicker diagnoses, helping us to deliver nine million more treatments, scans and operations by 2024.”
NHS national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: “We continue to pull out all the stops to address backlogs in routine care that have inevitably built up, and this new hospital in Berkshire is a brilliant example of what we are doing to reduce long waits.
“While seasonal pressures and COVID cases continue, we are determined to make the best possible use of the additional recovery investment and ‘one stop shops’, one-day hip replacements, and mobile CT and MRI scanners are just a snapshot of the initiatives our teams are driving forward to accelerate vital treatments, tests and checks for patients.
“As we have said throughout the pandemic, it is so important that anyone who needs healthcare continues to come forward for NHS help and support.”
Neil Dardis, chief executive at Frimley Health, added: “Heatherwood Hospital is incredibly important to our community, and I’m so pleased for our teams to be working in such a fantastic facility that will greatly improve care for our patients.”
NHS hospitals have treated more than 600,000 patients with the virus, including more than 100,000 admitted during the Omicron wave.
More than 118 million vaccine doses have been administered, including more than 32 million boosters.
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