Department of Health and Social Care
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Johnson details new hospital for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells

Johnson details new hospital for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release (2007/0312) issued by The Government News Network on 1 November 2007

Corrected version

During a visit to the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospitals Trust today, Health Secretary Alan Johnson announced that a preferred bidder has been appointed to build the new £228 million hospital. Construction of the hospital in Pembury will now begin early in the New Year, subject to final approvals.

The new redevelopment will house 512 en suite bedrooms and be the first 100% single room facility in England enabling much better isolation of patients with infections. It is expected to be completed by 2010.

Mr Johnson also announced that an additional £350,000 would be made available to the Trust to carry out a deep clean of its hospitals.

Alan Johnson said:

"The new hospital at Pembury is a hugely significant development for the people of Kent and I am pleased to announce that the scheme will commence in the New Year. With a new leadership team in place the Trust can now look to the future.

"Since the C. difficile outbreak in 2005 the Trust has taken significant steps to bring down the incidence of infections and to make sure they have proper processes in place for managing any future outbreaks. It is vital that standards continue to improve at all three hospitals."

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals have recently undergone a programme of improvement, including systematic cleaning of specific wards. The Trust received £300,000 in January and a further £420,000 in September 2007 to help reduce healthcare acquired infections.

The additional funding announced today will allow the Trust to accelerate its cleaning plans and develop an enhanced cleaning programme for all the hospitals. It will continue the positive progress the Trust has made following the outbreak of 2005 which includes a rigid policy for the use of antibiotics and measures to ensure that all patients with the infection are treated in isolation.

Alan Johnson added:

"To help staff continue to improve hygiene, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells will be one of the first Trusts to receive funding under the deep clean programme I announced last month. This is part of a wider range of measures that all Trusts need to take to tackle healthcare acquired infections and ensure patient safety"

Latest figures published today show that C. difficile rates in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust have fallen since the outbreak in 2005 and are now just above the national average.

Notes to editors

1. The recent Healthcare Commission report made clear that a poor environment played a part in the problems at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust. They sighted the many dormitory style wards and lack of single rooms which could be used for isolating patients with infections.

2. The NHS today received guidance on what a deep clean might entail. The details of the deep clean will be finalised locally. SHA estates and facilities advisors can help PCTs and SHAs to commission deep cleans that meet the needs of the site and deliver tangible outcomes by year-end.

A deep clean could include:

Dismantling/cleaning beds/bedrails
Cleaning equipment e.g. commodes
Cleaning ductwork
Steam cleaning
Ultrasonic cleaning
Hydrogen peroxide fogging
Restoration of surfaces
Wall-washing
High cleaning
Cleaning behind radiators, fitments
Floor scrubbing
Curtain changing
Window washing
Cleaning soft furnishings
De-cluttering
Cleaning cupboards/storage space
Cleaning kitchens/food prep areas
Cleaning trolleys/trolley wheels
Cleaning entrances/common areas
Doors and door furniture
Light fittings
Telephones/IT equipment

In some instances it may be more appropriate to replace items that cannot be satisfactorily cleaned, or to replace damaged finishes to make subsequent cleaning easier. Some Trusts may wish to use the fund to invest in equipment in this context, in addition to the cleaning of existing equipment where it need not be replaced.

The money can be spent in any hospital setting but priority should be given to areas where an impact on healthcare associated infections or on patient and public confidence can be clearly demonstrated. This is revenue funding which, under normal finance rules, can include non-capitalised equipment purchases.

The funding provided for the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust deep clean will include the purchase of decontamination equipment such as the ultrasound cleaning of wheelchairs and commodes.

3. A preferred bidder Equion, made up of John Laing, Laing O'Rourke and Interserve, has been appointed for a new £228 million hospital in Pembury. The trust and the preferred bidder will now work together to develop an approvable scheme which would begin construction early in the new year.

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