Harrogate hospital to spend half-a-million on A&E upgrades as it calls for patients needing treatment to return
Harrogate District Hospital has announced it will spend half-a-million pound upgrading its emergency department to restore patients' confidence ahead of peak pressure in the winter months.
The hospital has been awarded £527,000 of government cash which will be used to create more space for social distancing in response to concerns that patients are still avoiding treatment because of coronavirus fears.
Some of the money will also be used to upgrade diagnostic equipment as services suspended during the pandemic restart.
Jonathan Coulter, director of finance and deputy chief executive at the NHS trust, said: “We're really pleased to have received this investment. It means we will be able to adapt our space to better facilitate social distancing.
“Hospital staff are currently working very hard to provide safe care for patients in environments which we've carefully had to adapt and reorganise as a result of the pandemic.
"This money allows us to properly invest and will put us in a better place before winter.”
Across England, the government is providing £300m to A&E departments, with work to be completed by the start of next year so hospitals can be ready for the flu and a potential second wave of Covid-19.
A total of 117 trusts across the country are set to receive the funding, as part of a £1.5bn NHS package announced by the Prime Minister.
The money announced for Harrogate District Hospital has been welcomed by MP Andrew Jones who said it is "right that we plan for the worst" this winter.
“Winter may seem a long way off but planning ahead is essential if we want our NHS to cope with the additional pressures that cold weather brings", he said.
"In addition to those seasonal pressures we can expect the Covid-19 pandemic to still be with us although hopefully in a much reduced and more contained way.
"We need to ensure that facilities like A&E match the public expectation and the professionalism of our staff.
"This funding to upgrade A&E across the trust will ensure that we are in the best possible position for the challenges that the winter months may bring.”
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter