£11 million funding boost at Musgrove

Any investment in the NHS in Somerset is bound to be welcome. When the Secretary of State for Health announced an £11m investment in Musgrove Hospital, that was immediately welcomed. The CCG rushed out a self congratulatory press release. Dr Rosie Benneyworth, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s Director of Strategic Clinical Services Transformation gushed “We are delighted Somerset’s health and care system been successful in its bid for extra capital investment.”

What exactly is the money for? The plans involve moving the surgical assessment unit at Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital closer to the hospital’s emergency department. That is an £11m investment in moving an existing unit closer to the theatres where operations take place.  Today the surgical admissions unit is located in World War II ‘nightingale’ style ward accommodation that is “unsuitable for modern standards of care and is  some distance from the surgical operating theatres.”

But even so that is a large investment in simply moving a unit from one part of the hospital to another.

Dr Stuart Walker, Chief Medical Officer for Musgrove Park Hospital, also welcomed the news. “This is great news for Somerset. This funding means that clinical teams in our surgical assessment unit will be located at the centre of the hospital.”

The question that this investment leaves unanswered is this. Is there nothing more urgent needed for healthcare in Somerset? Possibly, possibly not. But it is far from clear what else the money could have been spent on and what projects the CCG deprioritised in order to put all their eggs behind this particular investment.

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