THE new Leighton Hospital will be a ‘health neighbourhood’ and will include other services and possibly a hospice.

Russell Favager, of the Mid Cheshire Hospitals Trust, was updating members of Cheshire East’s health and wellbeing board yesterday (Tuesday) on the vision for the new hospital, which he stressed was at an early stage.

He told committee members, MCHT had purchased extra fields at Leighton and the new hospital would be built on a field next to the existing building.

The recently refurbished emergency department and a couple of new wards would be kept and re-purposed.

Leighton Hospital emergency departmentLeighton Hospital emergency department (Image: Google)

“This isn’t just about building a hospital, this is about how we transform services – health and social care and use that investment in the area,” said Mr Favager.

“The idea going forward is that…we’re going to make it into a health neighbourhood, so it wouldn’t just be the hospital there, there would be a number of organisations on there.”

He added: “The idea is we’ll be having conversations with cancer [organisations], with mental health organisations, with hospices, with accommodation… there will be loads of different other health and care and other organisations on that campus.”

Mr Favager said the key word for newly built hospitals is ‘standardisation’.

“The construction of the [patient] room will be a standard design that will be used anywhere in the country.

“Theatres will be a standardised design… Then, just like Lego, you put your pieces together – whether you need 20 theatres or whether you need 10 theatres, that’s how it works.”

He said the new hospital, which will cost more than £1bn, will greatly improve patient care.

“Digital is massive around this – it’s about using technology, IT,” he said.

“It’s going to have about 600 beds, which is probably slightly more than we’ve got.

“Single rooms, seven day operations - so whether you’re in hospital on a Sunday or a Monday it should be the same service that’s being offered, so that’s what we have to work towards by the time this hospital opens.”

He said the hospital was also looking into using geothermal as a source of energy.

Regarding transport to the site, Mr Favager said it was recognised there was a need for more buses because of being on the outskirts of Crewe.

A multi-storey car park could also be on the cards.

Cllr Janet ClowesCllr Janet Clowes (Image: Cheshire East Council)

Cllr Janet Clowes (Wybunbury, Con) said Cheshire East Council had last week approved applications for about 800 houses on sites all around the hospital and 400 are currently being built there, so the hospital potentially would be constructed at the same time.

“I'd like some reassurance, at some point, that the highways network is sufficient, not just to deal with the housing but also with the increased transport that will be coming here,” she said.

She was assured talks regarding hospital access and roadworks and construction regularly took place.

Cllr Jill RhodesCllr Jill Rhodes (Image: Cheshire East Council)

Cllr Jill Rhodes (Crewe, Lab) said: “I'm very pleased to see that we're looking at community links, because I think it's essential, when you've got a hospital on the outskirts of the town, that you have good community facilities near to where people live.

She added: “And for me, the other exciting prospect is the site of the old hospital…

“We've got potential to build actual medical facilities, medical testing facilities. So I think this is a huge, exciting opportunity.”

MCHT is hoping to submit an outline planning application for the new hospital to Cheshire East Council in December this year.