Update on the St Luke’s project – March

Update on the St Luke’s project provided by Andrew Donoghue, NHS Property Services Regional Programme Manager and Dr David Sharp, Director for Commissioning Operations for NHS England in Leicestershire. This briefing is on behalf of NHS England, NHS Property Services and East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG, to the Community Leadership Scrutiny Panel of Harborough District Council on Thursday 19 March 2015.

David: As you know, the development of this project has been managed by three branches of the NHS: NHS England, NHS property Services and the East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group. NHS England has been responsible for securing the capital investment to build on the new site and this was achieved when the Business Case was approved by NHS Property Services on 22nd January. East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG is responsible for service provision and the transfer of the existing health services from the District Hospital on Coventry Road to St Luke’s on Leicester Road. NHS Property Services will be responsible for the building phase of the project and will lead all communications with you during this period.

I would therefore now like to hand over to Andy Donoghue, who is the Regional Programme Manager for NHS Property Services, and who will be leading on updates to the Scrutiny Panel during the building phase.  As you may be aware, I am moving on from NHS England shortly. My colleague, Trish Thompson, whom some of you may know, will be your liaison point until someone is permanently appointed to the post.

Current stage of the project

Andy: Thank you David. I look forward to continuing the positive relationship that has been developed with councillors and Council officers to continue to take this exciting project forward.

With the finances secured we are now able to move to the building phase for the new St Luke’s. We are currently in the process of finalising contracts and legal documents with our approved developer Morgan Sindall. Once contracts have been signed they will mobilise their teams to start on site. We are also working to agree and finalise formal leases with the tenants. Until this process has been completed we cannot be precise about an exact start date . At the moment, we anticipate building work will begin within the next 12 weeks. I will of course update you as soon as a firm date is set.

Construction is now due to finish in April / May 2016. There will then be six to eight weeks for fitting out. We estimate that the formal opening will be in June / July 2016 if there are no unforeseen delays – such as external providers connecting up utilities or commissioning phone lines – which are outside our control. Again, I will keep you abreast of any developments as they are reported to me.

Significant investment in health services

We are aware of the long history of this project and the understandable frustrations that it has sometimes caused amongst the local community. But we are now confident that one of the biggest investments in planned care in Leicestershire can now move ahead under this project and that the people of Harborough District will benefit from improved health care within state of the art facilities.

War memorial

I think it fair to say that we are all united in our desire to see the war memorial at the Coventry Road site preserved and protected so that it remains safe for future generations. Its listed status also ensures that the monument is protected in this way. On Tuesday 20 January 2015 NHS Property Services and NHS England held helpful discussions with English Heritage on site, about possible options for preserving the memorial. A letter from Louise Brennan at English Heritage has been sent to the council setting out their views and we look forward to working with them on finding a solution that is agreeable to everyone. Norman Proudfoot has a copy of this letter if anyone has not already seen it. The meeting was also written up by the local media, with suggestions that the site may be developed into affordable housing or accommodation for the armed forces or moved to a different site, where it can be preserved and maintained with the support of a local benefactor. All these options are very much speculative at the moment and nothing has been agreed at this early stage. But we remain keen to work with the council and all stakeholders by continuing to hold discussions and exploring all the options to ensure an outcome is agreed in the best interests of the local community.

Next steps

I will write to Councillors via Norman Proudfoot to let you know when the contracts with Morgan Sindall have been signed and when we know a date for the work on St Luke’s to begin. By the time of my next update with you, which is scheduled for June, I will have more information from the developer and will certainly be in a better position to let you know about more precise time scales. I will also update you on any further discussion we have with English Heritage on how to explore all the options for preserving the war memorial.

We look forward to continuing to work with Harborough Council, English Heritage and the wider community to support them on the decisions they make, in the best interests of local people.