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Paget's £5m expansion plan

PUBLISHED: 11:59 06 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:56 03 July 2010

A Norfolk hospital has unveiled a £5m expansion plan to double the size of its training and education centre.

The scheme for the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, will include the provision of a new medical library, a computer training suite for staff, conference facilities and a clinical research and trials unit.

A Norfolk hospital has unveiled a £5m expansion plan to double the size of its training and education centre.

The scheme for the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, will include the provision of a new medical library, a computer training suite for staff, conference facilities and a clinical research and trials unit.

Building work is set to start in April and the centre - described by trust chairman John Hemming as “a great leap forward for us” - is likely to take 12 to 18 months to complete.

Trust chief executive Adrian Pennington said: “When it opens, we will have a facility unprecedented for a hospital of this size that will benefit both staff and patients. We will have the state-of-the-art facilities that are vital for an organisation that employs 3,500 people.”

He said doctors currently involved in research had to make a time-consuming journey to the clinical research and trials unit at the UEA.

“As a university hospital we should be engaging in more research and trials and the new unit will encourage clinicians to undertake that research,” he said.

The unit will be spearheaded by the hospital's director of research Dr William Notcutt, who has already gained an international reputation for his trials on using cannabis as pain relief.

It is thought the arrival of the unit will make it easier for the future recruitment of top-quality staff with obvious benefits to patients.

Dr Maggie Wright, lead consultant for intensive care at the JPH and a senior lecturer at the UEA medical school, described the plans as “very, very exciting” and said all clinicians were delighted by the prospect of the new centre.

She said making the JPH a base for research would truly reflect its position as a teaching hospital.

It was also exactly what was needed to assist those people currently undertaking research - including Jerome Pereira, a world pioneer in breast reconstruction - and to encourage even more cutting-edge work at the hospital.

“Enhancing our research will lead to improvements in patient care so it is superb news for the general population as well,” she said.

Dr Wright said the new IT suite would facilitate E-learning and video conferencing that were “vitally important in this day and age”.

Funding for the project has come from budget savings and what Mr Pennington described as the support of the PCT in investing in clinical services, freeing money up for investment in training and education.

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