Northampton

Kettering General Hospital needs investment 'here and now'

Kettering General Hospital
Image caption Kettering's A&E department is seeing three time the number of patients it was built for

An A&E department which used doctors' offices and broom cupboards for extra patient space needs new investment "here and now".

Kettering General Hospital's emergency ward was built to see 100 people a day, but now regularly has 300 patients.

For six years bosses have been asking for funding for a new urgent care hub.

Jo Fawcus, Chief Operating Officer, said it was needed "because of our rising demand and the challenges we face every day".

Last week, the government pledged billions for hospital projects across England.

Ms Fawcus said that was "exciting news".

"But that's the future, the big thing for us is the here and now."

Image caption Staff and patients said there was not enough space

Two years ago a new temporary building was added to A&E, but staff and patients said it was too hot in summer and too cold in winter.

Last year was the hospital's busiest ever and hospital admissions are up 6% again this year.

One patient in A&E on Monday said there was "not enough staff and not enough space".

"I had to bring my mother in and we ended up sleeping in one of the doctor's offices. At one point she was sleeping a broom cupboard because they didn't have the space for her."

Another patient said the hospital "looks like a building from a third world country".

Dr Adrian Ierina, clinical director for urgent care, said: "The worst I've seen is 14 patients queuing in the corridor [on beds], waiting to be seen."

Image caption Bosses said planned government investment was not soon enough

Kettering's Conservative MP Philip Hollobone said there was a "cross-party" consensus about the need for a urgent care centre.

He said: "We all want the investment to come as quickly as possible and I'm optimistic that Kettering will be a the front of the queue."

Earlier this year the hospital was taken out of special measures but remains rated as "requires improvement" by the Care Quality Commission.

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