HOSPITAL chiefs are set to launch a major bid to build a new wing at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

It has emerged that plans are in the works for a new development that could house many of the city centre hospital’s specialist healthcare services – including the maternity unit, burns, and critical care.

According to a report from Newcastle Hospitals chief executive Dame Jackie Daniel, a funding bid is set to be submitted to the Government later this year to pay for the project.

She states that the new facilities, known as either the ‘New Specialist Hospital’ or ‘Richardson wing’, will be “critical” to ensuring the entire region has access to quality specialist care.

Hospital bosses are remaining tight-lipped about the finer details of the development for now, including the exact location of the proposed new wing.

But in a report to the Newcastle Hospitals Trust board, Dame Jackie said: “A key part of ensuring our services are sustainable in the medium-term is the provision of appropriate estate for many of our specialist services on the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) site. 

“The ‘New Specialist Hospital’, or ‘Richardson wing’ development is critical to ensuring the population of the North East as a whole have access to quality specialist maternity, burns, critical care and other services. 

“I would like to commend the project team’s work to date including their careful preparation of the Outline Business Case for the Board’s consideration. 

“It is clear to me that if we were not able to pursue this investment then it would lead to increasing future risks to the stability and quality of these specialist services.

“The Government are committed to funding a further eight hospital building schemes through a national competition to run later in the year and we want to be as best placed as possible to submit a bid for funding. 

“Recognising the wide reach of these specialist services, we want to draw on support from across the whole region as part of our bid and I would expect to see our engagement and communication work as part of this in the coming months.”

The RVI, which has been ranked among the top 100 hospitals in the world, currently has three main wings: the Leazes Wing, the Claremont Wing and the New Victoria Wing.

The Government has repeatedly pledged that 40 new hospitals will be built by 2030 as part of a package worth £3.7bn, though in fact the majority of the sites it has identified would be rebuilding projects or additions to existing hospitals rather than entirely new ones.

On top of those 40, the Department of Health and Social Care announced last October that a competition would be opened for a further eight locations to be added to the list.

The initial 40 featured a new cancer hospital in North Cumbria, which was already in the process of being built when the Government announcement was made and was recently completed.

Also included was a rebuild of the Northgate Hospital in Morpeth and a new site to replace the existing Shotley Bridge Hospital in County Durham.