Some details of the share that East Sussex NHS Trust (ESHT) is to receive of the government’s pledge to spend £3.7 billion on 40 new hospitals and upgrades around England over the next ten years were released last Friday by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock. No precise figures have been set out, but the cash grant is promised to cover an expansion and redevelopment of the Conquest Hospital, a brand new hospital in Eastbourne and development of the Bexhill hospital.

Local MP for Hastings and Rye, Sally-Ann Hart, claimed last weekend on her Conservative party website that she has been personally instrumental in securing “hundreds of millions of pounds in vital funding” for the Conquest in accordance with the party’s election manifesto commitment, though she also gives credit to other politicians, NHS managers and campaign groups.

“From our NHS Trust staff, to local authorities, local campaign groups and my fellow MPs – Huw Merriman, Caroline Ansell, Nus Ghani and Maria Caulfield – we all pulled together to ensure we got the funding our area needs to improve and enhance our local health services”, she has written.

“All told, this is a massive programme of improvement for our area. Local residents and staff can now look forwards to a bright future of high quality health care in state of the art hospitals. This is a fantastic result and one I hope the whole town will get behind.”

Joe Chadwick-Bell, newly appointed ESHT Chief Executive, released a separate statement: “We are delighted to be part of the second phase of the Government’s Healthcare Infrastructure Project which will see a significant investment in Bexhill, Eastbourne and Conquest hospitals over the next ten years. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the environment in which we provide care at ESHT. It will mean a complete redesign of our aging hospitals, taking advantage of new technologies and improvements in healthcare to ensure that we can meet the future needs of our communities. 

“We have already received some funding to develop our plans and start some initial ‘enabling’ work. Our plans are in the early stages, and we are looking forward to developing them further in partnership with local people, our patients and members of staff.”

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