Before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, the government announced partial funding for the redevelopment of Whipps Cross. This is welcome news for all of us who use Whipps and once the current crisis is under control, we hope attention will soon turn to moving this project forward. So what is the plan?
The trust plan a new hospital on one fifth of the current site, selling the other fourth fifths for commercial and housing redevelopment. The trust also wants to become a centre of excellence for the treatment of frail people.
Redbridge Lib Dems welcome these plans but have some questions. The hospital will have to sell most of the existing site to finance the new hospital. This will mean a high-rise main building, up to 12 storeys. Is there a danger the design of the new hospital will be driven by the need to generate money (by selling most of its land), rather than medical considerations or the needs of the public? Can we be assured that the new hospital and the business and housing developments with it will be climate change neutral? High rise buildings can be energy intensive. What will be the impact on the local environment?
Second, there are no plans to increase the number of beds despite our rising population. We were told that with new surgical techniques patients would be discharged faster and more long term patients will be looked after in the community. Without any plans for the latter, there must be doubts about that. Finally better public transport links are urgently needed. Whipps is difficult for patients and staff to get to. We must take this opportunity to upgrade transport links.