New Hospitals Programme
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our region’s hospitals
Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme is part of the Government’s New Hospital Programme as part of a rolling programme of national investment in capital infrastructure beyond 2030.
By creating a network of brand-new and refurbished facilities, we’ll help local people live longer, healthier lives. By doing this, we’ll also make Lancashire and South Cumbria a world-leading centre of excellence for hospital care.
The Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme is aiming to address significant problems with our ageing hospitals in Lancaster (Royal Lancaster Infirmary) and Preston (Royal Preston Hospital). We also need to invest in Furness General Hospital’s infrastructure in the context of its strategic importance and geographically remote location.
What progress has been made?
In July 2021, the New Hospitals Programme published a Case for Change report, which explained why funding for new hospital facilities is essential for the health of people in Lancashire and South Cumbria.
Following this in September 2021, a longlist of possible solutions was shared for hospital facilities in Preston, Lancaster and Barrow-in-Furness. The longlisted proposals aimed to address some or all of the main challenges presented in the Case for Change report. As established through the Case for Change process, these hospitals are the priority for investment.
In March 2022, the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria published a shortlist of proposals for new hospital facilities in the region, marking an important milestone in transforming care and reducing health inequalities for local people.
In September 2022, the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria stated its preference for new hospitals on new sites for both Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital as part of the New Hospitals Programme, alongside alternative partial rebuild options. This followed a comprehensive assessment for deliverability, affordability, value for money, and viability, considering feedback from thousands of patients, local people and staff.
Following the statement to the House of Commons from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in May 2023, the local NHS welcomes the announcement of two new hospitals to replace Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital as part of a rolling programme of national investment in capital infrastructure beyond 2030. This will also include investment in improvements to Furness General Hospital.
The existing Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital sites will remain in place and deliver services to our population until new hospital facilities are opened. What this means for future hospital services needs to be worked through. The local NHS will continue to keep communities involved and provide further updates as more information becomes available. Across the health and care system, NHS Trusts and the Integrated Care Board are working together to improve services and this work will continue.
Further detailed work is underway to assess the viability of potential locations for new hospital builds for both Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Royal Preston Hospital and to develop the required business cases. There is still further work to be completed in this area and additional sites may emerge over the coming period. Further information will be shared in due course.
You can read the full May 2023 funding announcement here, which further details what this could mean for patients, staff and the wider communities served by Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary.