The government has today announced that North Devon is set to get a brand new district hospital, in news described by local MP Peter Heaton-Jones as ‘absolutely fantastic’.
The plans were revealed this morning when Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock unveiled the government’s new Health Infrastructure Programme.
The programme will see 40 new hospitals built at a total cost of £13 billion. Six will be built in the next five years, with a further 34 - including in Barnstaple - planned for the second half of the decade. The North Devon NHS Trust will get ‘seed funding’ straight away to cover the planning costs.
North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones said, “This is absolutely fantastic news. After years of lobbying, we’re set to get what we want – a brand new hospital for Barnstaple.
“When Matt Hancock told me, I was delighted. He congratulated us on putting up such a robust argument for more investment in North Devon. He said he hoped this would end once and for all any uncertainty about the future of services here.
“The government wants to move quickly, and is providing funding upfront for the planning process. Patients, staff and the wider community will undoubtedly have many questions, including the location of the new hospital and exactly when it will open. I have already spoken to the Chief Executive of the Health Trust and we have agreed to work closely as this exciting project moves forward.
“In the last four years I’ve raised the need for more local investment time and time again in Parliament. We’re now getting more than ever before – for the Link Road, for our schools and now for our health services. I’m proud that I, and this government, are delivering for North Devon”.
Torridge & West Devon MP Geoffrey Cox said, “Peter Heaton-Jones has been working flat out, with my help, behind the scenes to produce this wonderful outcome for the people of the whole of the Torridge and North Devon areas. Not only will this new hospital guarantee the future of local NHS services, but it will dramatically improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for our communities”.