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New hospital will prioritise patients who have been waiting the longest for treatment

A new hospital in Berkshire will prioritise patients who have been waiting the longest for treatment.

The hospital will replace the current building at Heatherwood in Ascot, which will be used for new housing, according to Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust.

The new building will be dedicated to non-emergency treatment, with six operating theatres, 48 inpatient beds, and 22 day case cubicles, providing surgical, diagnostic, and outpatient care for people in Berkshire, Hampshire, and Surrey.

Hopes are hospital will help cut patient waiting times

It will offer outpatient services such as gynaecology, urology and cardiology, and patients will be offered endoscopy, physiotherapy, phlebotomy and radiology checks and treatments.

There will also be checks at one-stop diagnostic centres, same-day hip replacements, and mobile CT and MRI scanners.

It is hoped that the new hospital will help to cut patient waiting times, which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

A record number of people are waiting for hospital care after being referred for specialist care by their GP – some 6.1 million people in England alone, MPs were told earlier this month.

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NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “We continue to pull out all the stops to address COVID-19 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.”

‘Our promise to tackle the COVID backlogs’

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust said that the hospital was expected to be open to patients by the end of March, saying in September that it has the potential to double patient activity at Heatherwood over the next 10 years.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “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 – alongside other initiatives which include new surgical hubs and community diagnostic centres, helping us to deliver nine million more treatments, scans and operations by 2024.”

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