Today, during the parliamentary session, the Health Secretary made a significant announcement regarding Shotley Bridge Hospital. The complete funding required for the expansion and enhancement of the hospital will be provided as part of the Government’s £20 billion Hospital Building Programme.
Ever since Richard’s election in 2019, one of his primary objectives has been to reverse the long-standing decline of healthcare services in North West Durham. The fulfilment of this hospital funding marks the successful conclusion of Richard’s extensive campaign. It is especially noteworthy because, at the time of his election, there seemed to be no serious proposal for the existing community hospital. Instead, there was a plan to further downgrade it to a smaller facility, with only £20 million offered by NHS England.
The infusion of this funding is truly transformative. Prior to Richard’s election, there were plans to reduce the hospital’s capacity to zero beds. However, with this substantial investment, the current 8-bed facility will be doubled to accommodate 16 beds. The expansion plans include a significant increase in chemotherapy services, positioning Shotley Bridge as the primary location for chemotherapy within the Trust. Furthermore, a state-of-the-art diagnostic hub will be established, featuring a new mobile CT and MRI scanner. This will facilitate easier access to early diagnosis, ultimately saving lives throughout the area.
Not only will the Urgent Treatment Centre at the new facility be preserved, but it will also be expanded with the addition of two more treatment rooms to enhance its capacity. Moreover, there will be notable improvements in women’s services, primary and community care facilities, and overall family health services.
What’s even more promising is that County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, responsible for the new facilities, are committed to offering T-Levels—an advanced vocational qualification—at Shotley Bridge in partnership with New College Durham. This will enable them to recruit local staff for good-quality, high-skilled, and well-paying jobs within the hospital. Additionally, local builders and suppliers will be engaged as much as possible during the construction phase. Consequently, this new facility will not only enhance healthcare outcomes but also provide substantial economic benefits to the entire local area, both during and after its completion.
All in all, the existing facilities at Shotley Bridge will undergo a comprehensive overhaul and improvement in almost every aspect. This unprecedented government investment will undeniably result in superior healthcare outcomes for the local population, creating wide-ranging advantages for North West Durham as a whole.
“Ever since I was elected as MP for North West Durham, the campaign for Shotley Bridge Hospital has been my top priority. It is fantastic to see this confirmed by the Health Secretary in Parliament today, with the money needed for the project delivered in full. This will make a massive difference to us in North West Durham.
“Shotley Bridge has been crying out for investment for years. Despite this, it has only been mentioned twice in the previous 20 years in Parliament before I was elected. I was determined to change this, so in the last three and a bit years it’s been talked about 24 times, and had its own debate after I secured time for that. Historically, MPs have taken this part of the world for granted so investments like these have passed us by. I am so glad this is no longer the case and in this, and many other areas, investment that people will feel is being pumped into North West Durham.
“Thank you so much to the Government for this vote of confidence in Shotley Bridge. More importantly though, thanks to everyone that backed this important campaign. While it is fantastic to see hard work pay off, what I will enjoy more is seeing the huge difference this will undoubtedly make to the local area, both in its construction phase and also upon completion. I look forward to spades in the ground in the next 12 months.”Richard Holden MP