Plans to build a new Women and Children's hospital in Milton Keynes are “on track”, health chiefs have insisted, despite construction work not having started yet.
In 2020, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new Hospital Programme “from Morpeth to Milton Keynes” which would “level up our NHS”.
One of the 40 hospitals set to be built by 2023, as part of a £3.7 billion package, is a new women and children’s hospital at Milton Keynes University Hospital.
However, MPs have raised “extreme concerns” over the lack of progress with building the hospitals in a damning new report. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said it had “no confidence” that the Government would meet its target.
Its inquiry found that it was “highly unlikely” even to construct 32 new hospitals after the original target was abandoned in May.
The Committee called on the Department for Health and Social Care to “urgently examine” how the Programme could deliver “some tangible results for patients”.
Despite the bleak outlook for the new hospitals, health chiefs in Milton Keynes have stood by the commitment to deliver the city’s new women and children’s hospital by 2030.
The Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said the Programme presented a “significant opportunity” for the University Hospital to “meet the acute care needs of our rapidly growing local population”.
A spokesperson told the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Funding for our proposed new women’s and children’s hospital with additional surgical capacity was agreed in principle by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in May 2023.
“We are delighted that our programme remains on track to be completed by 2030.”
The Trust said it was developing supporting strategies, site surveys and briefing documents to “prepare for the submission of its outline business case”.
It said that some documentation had to be resubmitted to clarify factors related to the Covid-19 pandemic but stressed that this was “not expected to cause any delays” to the programme.
Plans to expand Milton Keynes University Hospital include a new multi-storey car park, additional high-voltage power capacity and providing a new location for imaging services – creating pictures of inside the body such as X-rays, to the site.
Site investigation works for these projects have started, although a date for the start of construction is still to be confirmed.