NHS England could approve £200m plans for a ‘purpose-built’ A&E centre at Marlborough Hill

The development could cost up to £200m and is planned to be completed in 2029

NHS England is being asked to approve a new A&E in the centre of Bristol this month.

Local hospital bosses want to replace the current adult emergency department — which they say is in a “location not in any way fit for modern delivery of modern medicine” — with a new purpose-built facility at Marlborough Hill.

The development could cost up to £200m and is planned to be completed in 2029. The strategic outline case for the Marlborough Hill A&E is going to NHS England in January after local hospital bosses approved the plan in December.

Paula Clarke, executive managing director at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston, told the board meeting on December 13 where the case was approved: “The first aspect of our case for change is that very challenged adult [emergency department] environment, and that’s both in its location and its condition.

“Certainly we have had […] in the region of six independent visits to our adult DD in the last 18 months, whether that be from [NHS England] in terms of support team, from the military, or indeed from the national director. All of which recognise that our estate and our location is not in any way fit for modern delivery of modern medicine.”

The NHS Trust believes that a new purpose-built medical centre on the Marlborough Hill site will allow them to better locate services next to each other. The site, which is at the edge of the hospital complex, currently contains the pharmacy, staff residences, a multi-story car park, and the trust’s headquarters.

Ms Clarke said: “Marlborough Hill is our only site for the development of core clinical services. We are a landlocked city centre site.”

She added that moving the adult emergency department out of its current location would allow for children’s services to be expanded.

Chief medical officer Stuart Walker stressed that there were issues with the current layout of the site. He said: “We have absolutely fantastic staff on our front door and I cannot reiterate how well they do to provide the highest possible quality of care in a very constrained estate environment. And they do that — but it’s not sustainable to continue pushing that indefinitely.”

Chair of the board Jayne Mee stressed that approving the case for the new A&E at board level was only the start of the process. She said: “This is point one of a 13 point process for eventually getting us, we hope, to the end of construction in March 2029. So it feels to me like it is time to get this one out of the blocks and start to work together to make this some form of reality.”

The plans were approved by the board and at a meeting of the council of governors later that day and will be considered by NHS England this month.

Should NHS England approve the case, it will then need to be approved by the Treasury, before construction can begin in April 2026.