The Royal Berkshire Hospital is one of 21 hospital trusts receiving £100m seed funding as a commitment in principle to develop its business plan for a new state-of-the-art hospital for the town, as part of the Conservative Government's plans to embark on the biggest hospital building programme in a generation.
The commitment to rebuild the RBH is part of the Government's Health Infrastructure Plan - a new, strategic approach to improving hospitals and health infrastructure over the long-term.
It comes on top of the extra £33.9 billion a year by 2023 to 2024 that the Government is providing to the NHS. And follows the Government’s recent commitment of £1.8 billion in capital funding for 20 hospital upgrades and other critical infrastructure works for the NHS, as well as the announcement of £200 million to replace more than 300 diagnostic machines across the country to help drive earlier cancer diagnosis and improve survival.
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Reading East, Craig Morley has welcomed the news:
"I was born at the Royal Berks, and have spent a fair amount of time there throughout my childhood on wards in the original Victorian building. It's a fantastic hospital, with dedicated nurses and doctors - but as the town has grown, its old buildings have started to creak. It is fantastic that a Conservative Government has committed to rebuild the hospital and provided money up front to progress the business plan.
"The NHS is vitally important to all of us. Previously, the approach to improving NHS infrastructure has been piecemeal and lacked strategic direction. The Health Infrastructure Plan lays the foundations for a new, strategic, multi-year programme of much-needed major hospital replacement. It will ensure that we have a Royal Berks hospital that is fit for purpose for both staff and patients on the front line.
"Labour offered less money for the NHS than we are delivering. In their 2017 manifesto, Labour committed 2.2% more a year by 2022, which they claimed would ‘restore the NHS to be the envy of the world’ - our new budget settlement provides substantially more, at 3.4% a year. Conservatives are the true party of the NHS."
The Royal Berkshire Hospital opened in 1839 on the London Road on land donated by Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, a local resident and former Prime Minister. It was built by local architect and builder Henry Briant, who won the design competition.
In 2006, The Queen accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh opened the new buildings of the Royal Berkshire Hospital. This was to celebrate the completion of an eight-year project to move the Battle Hospital services onto the Royal Berkshire Hospital site.