A new community hospital for the Forest of Dean

Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust is working on a new community hospital in the Forest of Dean which will replace Dilke Memorial Hospital and Lydney Community Hospital.

The new hospital is being built on the site of Collingwood Skatepark and Lower High Street Playing Field in Steam Mills Road, Cinderford, which will put it close to the town centre and make it as accessible as possible whether travelling by car or by public transport.

A new skatepark is being provided at Miner’s Field (off Barleycorn Square) to replace the former skate park at the Sports Field. This locates the skate park more centrally within the town, offers better and safer access and puts it in a location where the Town Council is investing in additional park and recreation facilities.

The Trust has also funded the resurfacing of the multi-use games area (off Coronation Road and Mount Pleasant Road) from the current concrete to a Sports England approved surface to make it usable all year round and for a wider range of sports and activities.

The hospital is expected to be completed during the 2023-24 financial year.

Current timescales

Tuesday 8 March 2022: Planning permission granted
Building work from Summer 2022

1. Ground preparation (Complete)
2. Sub-structure installation – foundations, drainage, utilities (Complete)
3. Steel frame construction (Underway)
4. Brickwork due to start October 2022
5. Interior building works – flooring, ceilings, walls and partitioning due to start January 2023
6. Exterior building work – car park, pathways, landscaping
7. Furnishing and Decoration due to start May 2023

Opening: Currently anticipated early 2024

Planning Update: March 2022

Our Trust is delighted to have been granted planning permission for a new community hospital for the Forest of Dean.

The decision was made by Forest of Dean District Council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday 8 March (subject to there being no objections raised by Natural England within their consultation period).

The Trust can now move forward with plans for the construction of the new hospital on the playing field at Steam Mills Road, in Cinderford, and reprovision of the skate park currently on the site.

Angela Potter, Director of Strategy and Parternships at the Trust, said: “An enormous amount of work, energy and thought has gone into the development and planning for a new community hospital in the Forest of Dean so I’m excited that we have reached another major milestone in this journey.

“Our aim has always been to develop 21st century facilities to house services which meet the needs of the community in the Forest of Dean, and a modern, new hospital will have an important role to play in achieving this objective.

“I would like to thank Trust colleagues who have been working incredibly hard to move this project forward. We are also grateful to everyone who has taken part in dialogue, engagement and consultation about the hospital over the last few years.”

Work will start imminently to begin to prepare the site and groundworks for the new hospital development and the Trust Board meeting on Thursday 31 March will be asked to give approval for the letting of the main construction contract.

The services to be provided by the 24-bed hospital were confirmed by Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group in January 2021. It will have single rooms with ensuite facilities to minimise the risk of cross-infection and maintain infection control standards, and a purpose-built therapy gym for rehabilitation.

There will be a Minor Injuries unit with separate adult and children waiting areas, x-ray, radiology and ultrasound services, consulting and treatment rooms for outpatient clinics, a children’s clinic area, endoscopy suite and clinic space for dentistry and podiatry.

The hospital has also been designed with a focus on sustainability – aiming at an “Excellent” rating using the construction industry’s BREEAM standards – to help reduce energy consumption and support an NHS ambition of net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Access to the site will be via a redesigned junction where the current skatepark entrance is located, leading to parking at the front of the site and the building positioned further back. Separate consultation on traffic calming measures around the entrance will be conducted by Gloucestershire County Council.

Planning permission for a new Skate Park at the Miners Field in Cinderford was granted by the council at the same planning meeting.

Work on the new Skatepark will begin shortly while preparatory work is expected to start on the new hospital site on Thursday 10 March, lasting until June when building work can begin.

Planning Update: October 2021

Our Trust is pleased to announce that a full planning application has been submitted for a new community hospital for the Forest of Dean.

This follows feedback from the Forest of Dean community and colleagues across the NHS as well as ongoing discussion with site neighbours and further work on the design and materials.

The application was submitted to Forest of Dean District Council on Friday 8 October. Full details of the application are available on the council website.

Angela Potter, Director for Strategy and Partnerships at the Trust, said: “I’d like to thank everyone in the Forest of Dean community who commented on our initial plans and drawings.

“We received a lot of feedback and have looked at everything we can to make positive changes to the building, such as taking ideas on material and colours to improve the appearance from different parts of the site.

“Some changes have been unavoidable – for example, the change in shape on one of the roofs is the result of new regulations on air exchangers due to covid. Our design team has worked extremely hard to create a hospital which is both pleasing and functions well.”

The ward is made up of single rooms with ensuite facilities to minimise the risk of cross-infection and maintain infection control standards, and a purpose-built therapy gym for rehabilitation.

The design includes a Minor Injuries unit with separate adult and children waiting areas, x-ray, radiology and ultrasound services, consulting and treatment rooms for outpatient clinics, a children’s clinic area, endoscopy suite and clinic space for dentistry and podiatry.

The hospital is also being designed with a focus on sustainability – aiming at an Excellent rating using the construction industry’s BREEAM standards – to help reduce energy consumption and support an NHS ambition of net zero carbon emissions.

It is proposed that access to the site will be via a redesigned junction where the current skatepark entrance is located, leading to parking at the front of the site and the building positioned further back.

Trust Chief Executive Paul Roberts said: “Our Trust – and the wider NHS – has used all the expertise available to us to design a high-quality and sustainable hospital with services based on the needs of the community.

“I’m looking forward to the outcome of the planning application and moving ahead with this important piece of work for healthcare in the Forest of Dean.”

As part of the hospital project the Trust will provide a new skatepark in Miner’s Field – with a planning application for the design also in progress – and will upgrade the surface of the Mount Pleasant multi-use games area.

Planning Update: September 2021

Thank you to everyone who submitted comments in response to the publication in July 2021 of initial plans and drawings of the proposed new community hospital for the Forest of Dean.

Comments covered a range of themes, including the design, use of single rooms, overall bed numbers, maternity services and urgent care. Summary responses to some of the points raised are below.

Bed numbers

Bed modelling was conducted jointly with Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and we believe the design provides sufficient beds to meet the needs of the local population of the Forest of Dean.

Current activity patterns demonstrate more than 90 per cent of Forest residents are admitted to a bed in one of the Forest hospitals but that nearly half of the existing 47 beds in the Forest hospitals are occupied by people from outside the locality (particularly from Gloucester and Cheltenham). These people will access rehabilitation beds local to them.

Throughout the Covid pandemic, Dilke and Lydney have been operating at reduced capacity of 30 beds, with no impact on patient flow.

Maternity Services

This has been fully reviewed as part of service strategy development, and the average number of births per annum in the Forest of Dean district and the rights of women to choose the place in which they give birth was considered.

However, the option of a midwife-led unit or a birthing centre not taken forward on the basis that a clinically safe and sustainable service could not be provided.

The NHS will continue to promote home births for women where it is clinically safe and appropriate to do so.

Single Rooms

Our learning from Covid-19 has clearly demonstrated that single rooms are a much safer option for infection prevention and control.

Patients have increased privacy and dignity when they have their own room with their own en-suite bathroom, and are often more confident to move around their own room and use the bathroom rather than a commode by the bedside which helps keep them mobile.

There is a greater use of digital technology which enables patients to keep in touch with their loved ones via virtual means outside of normal visiting hours which they can do without disturbing others.

Urgent Care

We have been commissioned to include a minor injuries and illness unit, open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm, with diagnostic support within the hospital.

This forms part of wider network of urgent care services – NHS 111, pharmacies, primary care, community services such as rapid response, and the emergency departments at Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Design

All of your comments, questions and concerns have been shared with the design team, and we are doing all we can to work with ideas and proposals regarding design or materials.

The Trust has been in regular dialogue with neighbours to the site and will continue to do so as we continue the process towards a full planning application.

Planning Information: July 2021

The Trust invited comments on the design and impact of the hospital on the Steam Mills Road site in preparation for a full planning application. This process closed on Friday 23 July 2021.

Considerable work has gone into understanding the site, including the history of mining in the immediate vicinity, natural habitats present, water flow and drainage, and access requirements.

The hospital design will provide flexible space, be environmentally friendly and reflect the unique heritage and landscape of the Forest of Dean.

Access to the site will be via a new junction where the current skatepark entrance is located, with parking to the front of the site and the building positioned further back.

Prior decisions on the location of the hospital and services within it will not form part of this planning process. For details on how those decisions have been made, please see the ‘Timeline’ section below and visit www.fodhealth.nhs.uk

Services which have been agreed and commissioned for the hospital include:

  • Inpatient unit: 24 beds – all single rooms to ensure increased infection prevention and control and increased privacy and dignity
  • Outpatient services: a range of consultation rooms, treatment rooms, group room and space for remote consultations
  • Urgent care
  • Diagnostic services – x-ray, ultrasound, a new endoscopy unit and facilities to allow access for two mobile units
  • Parking for approximately 150 vehicles
  • Multi-function group rooms for use by the wider community

Timeline 2015-2021

Engagement and consultation processes have been ongoing in the Forest of Dean since 2015, run primarily by Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group. Below is a summary of that work. Full details can be found at www.fodhealth.nhs.uk

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