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Lord Markham joined by Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill and South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge to plant first tree at new West Suffolk Hospital site at Hardwick Manor





A Government minister has planted the first tree at the site of Bury St Edmunds’ new hospital, which is set to offer patients some of the ‘best views in the country’.

The first ‘buffer tree’ at the Hardwick Manor site was planted this morning by Lord Markham CBE, parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department of Health and Social Care.

Lord Markham, who is responsible for the New Hospital Programme, was joined by Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill, South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge and Gary Norgate, programme director for the new West Suffolk Hospital project.

L-R: Gary Norgate, Future System Programme Director, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, James Cartlidge MP for South Suffolk, Simon Hirst, Project Lead, New Hospital Programme, NHS England, Jo Churchill MP for Bury St Edmunds, Craig Black, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Resources, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Lord Markham CBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, Josie Rudman, Chief Nurse and Transformation Director, New Hospital Programme, NHS England. Picture: Suzanne Day
L-R: Gary Norgate, Future System Programme Director, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, James Cartlidge MP for South Suffolk, Simon Hirst, Project Lead, New Hospital Programme, NHS England, Jo Churchill MP for Bury St Edmunds, Craig Black, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Resources, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Lord Markham CBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, Josie Rudman, Chief Nurse and Transformation Director, New Hospital Programme, NHS England. Picture: Suzanne Day

Mr Norgate said he felt emotional at the planting of the buffer trees, which will be used to reduce the visual and sound impact of the new hospital.

He said: “It feels real and seeing diggers here makes it all the realer.”

Confirming that a power connection has been secured for the Hardwick Manor site, he said: “As much as it can be, everything is on track.

MPs Jo Churchill and James Cartlidge planting a tree at the new hospital site. Picture: Suzanne Day
MPs Jo Churchill and James Cartlidge planting a tree at the new hospital site. Picture: Suzanne Day

“We’ve had a lot of support from lots of different agencies and the plan is the entire new hospital will be operational in 2030.

“In the next three years we will out of the ground.”

Mrs Churchill said: “This is a hugely emotional moment, this is what Bury needs for its future.

“The new hospital needs to serve a growing population in a way fit for the 21st Century.”

MP for Bury St Edmunds said it was a hugely emotional moment. Picture: Suzanne Day
MP for Bury St Edmunds said it was a hugely emotional moment. Picture: Suzanne Day

She said all patients would have their own room at the new build and will look out onto one of the ‘best natural vistas’, from a hospital, in the country.

Mr Cartlidge said: “This is a real brand new hospital from scratch and we are moving forward with the key developmental stuff.”

He also spoke about the importance of considering the environmental impact of the new hospital which includes moving fungi from the Hardwick Manor site to his constituency, ahead of work starting.

Lord Markham said: “It was great to visit the site here in Bury St Edmunds and to view the progress on the replacement West Suffolk Hospital, which is part of our commitment to deliver 40 new hospitals by 2030 and is now expected to be backed by over £20 billion of infrastructure investment.

“As part of the government’s long-term plan for our health care system, we have prioritised the construction of a replacement hospital here in West Suffolk to give local residents access to world-leading care and deliver the highest standards of safety for patients and staff.

“Planting the first buffer tree, as part of the pre-construction works, is an important step in preparing the site for a state-of-the-art new hospital, which will benefit patients and staff – and the communities of West Suffolk – for generations to come.”

Craig Black, deputy chief executive and director of resources at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to host Lord Markham and our local MPs to demonstrate the significant progress the team have made.

“We welcome their continued support as our new hospital, for our patients and staff, gets closer.”

Diggers can be seen in the background as the tree planting gets underway. Picture: Suzanne Day
Diggers can be seen in the background as the tree planting gets underway. Picture: Suzanne Day

During the visit, the minister and MPs discussed the plans and progress of the new hospital.

In 2020, West Suffolk was confirmed as one of 40 new hospitals across the country which the Government has committed to build by 2030 as part of the Health Infrastructure Plan.

The trust is preparing an outline business case as part of the New Hospital Programme.