From Keighley News, October 17th, 2019
Written by Alistair Shand
A BID for £22 million of Government cash to build a desperately-needed replacement ward block at Airedale Hospital has been rejected. Airedale NHS Foundation Trust had submitted the capital funding bid in May last year. But trust bosses have been told the scheme has been unsuccessful in the current round of investment. West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, which prioritised projects in the region for a submission to NHS England and NHS Improvement, says the Airedale bid remains “an important part of the overall estates strategy” and within the partnership’s future capital plans.
However, Keighley MP John Grogan has hit out at the decision and is seeking top-level meetings to press Airedale’s case.
He discussed the situation with senior hospital management during a recent visit to the Steeton site.
“Airedale Hospital celebrates its 50th birthday next year but parts of the building are beginning to show their age,” said Mr Grogan.
“If the hospital is to celebrate its 60th and 70th birthdays, it needs to completely upgrade its wards.
“I am very disappointed that Airedale’s bid was turned down as part of the most recent round of capital funding bids. It does seem to have been a case of favouring the big city hospitals.
“I shall be seeking meetings with both the health minister and the shadow health minister to press the case for Airedale. The hospital is the one institution that people across Keighley constituency have in common.
“During my visit I was also pleased to see the world-class pathology department and to learn about the crucial role digital technology now plays.”
Brendan Brown, chief executive officer of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said the ward block needed rebuilding to make it fit for the future.
He added: “We have refurbished parts of the hospital over the years, however our ward block requires a complete rebuild. To do this we need capital funding.
“We were unsuccessful in our 2018 bid, but the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership is supportive of our plans.
“The Government recently announced capital funding for another 34 hospitals and we look forward to further details on the funding for rural hospitals, as part of the wider health infrastructure plan.”
The partnership said it would “continue to seek funding opportunities for all capital priorities including the Airedale Hospital scheme”. A spokesman added: “We would like to reassure people that maximising the capital funding that comes to West Yorkshire and Harrogate from central government is a priority for the partnership. This is very important to us all.”