YEP campaigned for dedicated children's hospital in Leeds

The Yorkshire Evening Post has campaigned for many years for a new dedicated children' s hospital to be built in the city.

Sunday, 29th September 2019, 5:55 pm
An artist's impression of the two new hospitals

Today (Sunday Sep 29) Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) has finally been given the 'full go-ahead' by government to build two new hospitals.

A new children’s hospital will bring together services for children and young people in a building purpose-built for their needs - a first for Leeds - while a new adults' hospital will be 'state of the art'.

In 2004 the YEP ran its successful Give The Kids A Hospital campaign.

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The campaign saw around 3,000 readers in coupons calling on then Health Secretary John Reid to give the go-ahead for a dedicated children's and maternity hospital.

The drive was a huge success and the city looked forward to a children's unit opening in 2012.

Plans for the new hospital were mothballed in March 2007 after Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said it could no longer afford it.

The projected bill for the new hospital had almost tripled - from £230m to £650m between 2004 and 2007

The YEP and its supporters continued to campaign for a new hospital.

In 2010 Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust created a new centralised service for youngsters at Leeds General Infirmary and called it Leeds Children’s Hospital.

The £35m reorganisation was a replacement for the dedicated children's and maternity hospital. after plans were shelved.

The new children’s hospital will bring together services for children and young people in a building purpose-built for their needs - a first for Leeds - while a new adults' hospital will be 'state of the art'.

Julian Hartley, chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, described the announcement as 'wonderful news'.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust is one of six across the country to be given a share of £2.7bn by the government, as part of its new Health Infrastracture Plan.

The programme is designed to modernise hospital buildings and invest in new diagnostics and technology.

The plans for a new children’s hospital site opposite Millennium Square have been described as 'world class'.

The adult facility, with new theatres for day case procedures and added critical care facilities, would be joined onto the Jubilee Wing, according to proposals previously laid out by Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).

Mr Hartley said: "This is an historic development in the future of patient care in Leeds and the wider region.

"This investment will enable the Trust to take a huge leap forward in how it delivers care for patients from Leeds and beyond.

"The benefits of this funding will be far-reaching. Leeds is a renowned centre for specialist services, providing treatment and care for patients from across the region, the North of England in in some instances, the rest of the UK.

"We will be able to develop healthcare based on advanced medical and digital technologies, innovation and research."

The trust has said that many of its buildings are not fit for modern healthcare and it spends a large amount of money every year maintaining them.

It has a number of stages to complete before it can start building the new hospitals, but expects building to take around three years once it is underway.

The new funding will mean a hospital site that is 'modern, environmentally sustainable and efficient', freeing up for cash for patient care.

The new buildings will form part of a planned Innovation District in Leeds, covering the two university campuses, LGI and the council's buildings.

City leaders hope it will bring together the institutions in a bid to attract new research facilities, create new opportunities and put Leeds at the 'forefront of research, learning and health innovation' in the UK.

LGI's Grade I listed Gilbert Scott Building, among others, will also be given a 'sympathetic redevelopment to preserve their fantastic heritage for the city'.

Linda Pollard, chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "This is amazing news. It will be a significant investment in health services for patients from Leeds and the wider region and a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the city of Leeds.

"It will help Leeds to take a huge leap forward in developing an Innovation District, putting the city at the forefront of developing health-tech and research, and attracting investment, skills and jobs to our region."