NW business briefs: Warrington Hospital; RVA Surveyors; Armstrong Fluid Technology; North & Western Lancs Chamber; MTC

Warrington Hospital ground breaking

A £6.3m expansion of Warrington Hospital’s emergency department started last month, significantly increasing patient assessment capacity. The Trust broke ground on October 29, and the six month project will enable the hospital’s over-stretched accident and emergency service to more quickly see, treat, admit or discharge patients.

Warrington Hospital has been increasingly challenged to meet A&E demand over the past few years as the town has expanded rapidly putting significant strain on a service designed for 150 patients per day. Like other trusts around the country emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is real pressure on A&E services with Warrington’s ED regularly seeing in excess of 300 patients – double the capacity of the current estate.

Prof Simon Constable, chief executive, said: “Much of the delay in the emergency department occurs when staff run out of space to assess patients. Many patients presenting now are very unwell and take longer to assess and initiate treatment. As a result long waiting times are, sadly, no longer unusual. The emergency department and specialist teams delivers exceptional care, despite the pressures, and could do more, and more quickly, with more space. This expansion will be a real boost to our capacity to assess patients and move them on to the next diagnostic or care setting.”

The ground floor of the 1,170 sq m extension faces on to Lovely Lane and will be exclusively for patient care and offer urgent ‘hot’ clinics, assessment areas, triage space, ambulatory care and primary care in the expanded and redesigned space. The second floor will be home to administration, equipment and staff rest areas which currently occupy valuable ground floor space in the existing emergency department. This space will now also be used for patients.

The expanded estate will also increase capacity to deliver acute care for patients in extreme health emergencies. In addition to the new clinical and assessment space enabling a range of pathways to care, the extension will have a ‘high care’ area for patients presenting with high risk respiratory and other serious symptoms.

The project will be managed by the Trust’s own estates team with the work carried out by Birmingham-based Tilbury Douglas Construction, specialists in health care construction. The project will have a number of phases, with mitigations put in place to minimise disruption to patients, staff and the local community. Ambulance access to the site will not be affected.


Anthony Hughes

Fast-growing business rates reduction specialist, RVA Surveyors, has launched a unique affiliate programme to meet growing demand from businesses seeking to reduce their business rates. The initiative provides a platform for businesses to refer their own audiences to RVA, from entrepreneurs and office workers to independent business owners working at commercial premises across the UK.

Partners and publishers will earn commission and RVA will provide additional incentives for top performers and referrers.

Anthony Hughes, RVA Surveyors managing director, said: “With over 1.8 million commercial properties in the UK, the demand for our services is huge. As businesses seek to streamline operational costs in a post-pandemic era, this is only set to increase further and we are already receiving an incredible amount of enquiries about support to reduce business rates.

“Our affiliate programme enables us to engage with our existing customers and reach out to the many businesses who may need support with their business rates. The business rates system is extremely complex to navigate – many companies are unaware they are overpaying and may be entitled to a reduction or rebate. We want to offer our partners a simple and effective way to monetise their audiences effectively, and we look forward to engaging with new and existing customers.”

The Manchester-based firm has engaged with more than 40,000 commercial properties to date and saved a combined total of £125m for its clients. Further underpinning its commitment to drive down business rates liabilities, RVA is also conducting a substantial recruitment drive that will see the business triple its workforce from 50 to 150 employees.


Kui Man Gerry Yeung and Steve Cooper

Armstrong Fluid Technology was presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development on October 27, by Kui Man Gerry Yeung, Her Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester. The honour was announced on April 29, with the company becoming the first in the commercial-scale heating, ventilation and air conditioning sector to receive such an accolade.

The official presentation of the award took place at Armstrong’s state of the art facility in Wolverton Street, Manchester. The ceremony involved a tour of the premises followed by a presentation on Armstrong’s award winning sustainability initiatives. This was followed by receipt of the scroll and crystal by Steve Cooper, director of sustainable design, on behalf of the business.

Armstrong Fluid Technology was established in Canada in 1934, and has been manufacturing pumps and other fluid flow products in Greater Manchester since 2004. Equipment manufactured at the Wolverton Street factory is transported across the UK and shipped to customers as far afield as Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Products provide HVAC and fire protection solutions for district energy schemes as well as commercial applications such as offices, retail, hospitals, education facilities and data centres.

Steve Cooper said: “Sustainability involves a number of small changes that, when combined, make a big difference. This award is in recognition of the collaborative efforts of everyone at Armstrong since 2012. We all play our part, whether that involves the products we create, to help our customers save energy and CO 2, or the way we develop our buildings and carry out our operations.”


Babs Murphy

Lancashire businesses are being urged to take advantage of a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to put employers’ skills needs at the heart of local college technical courses. The call comes from the CEO of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, which has started gathering evidence for the Lancashire Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), after being selected by the Department of Education to be a national Local Skills Improvement Plan Trailblazer.

The North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce is one of eight UK chambers of commerce appointed to spearhead the Government-led initiative. LSIPs are hoped to address concerns that employers do not have enough influence over courses and skills offered in local areas and struggle to find skilled employees.

Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) were proposed as elements of the Government’s Skills for Jobs White Paper, published in January 2021, which is now referred to as the Skills Accelerator. It also includes the Strategic Development Fund (SDF), a £65m investment to help colleges implement some of the strategic priorities set out in the local skills improvement plan. In Lancashire, the SDF will be led by Myerscough College on behalf of The Lancashire Colleges (TLC).

Lancashire’s plan will be submitted to the Department of Education by March 31, 2022, to help the Government determine whether Local Skills Improvement Plans is the best method to shape UK skills provision. The North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, working in partnership with the East Lancashire Chamber and supported by Lancaster Chamber, is aiming to gather evidence from more than 10,000 businesses to develop a clear plan of what skills provision is required in Lancashire.

Babs Murphy, CEO of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, which has more than 1,600 members in the county, said: “This is all about placing employers at the heart of defining local skills needs and it’s a one in a generation opportunity for Lancashire businesses to have their say. When the chamber delivers this support, engaging with thousands of businesses, the county will have an evidence-based skills audit of a sort never seen before.”


The Manufacturing Technology Centre’s seventh annual digital manufacturing conference will be held during Digital Manufacturing Week as a virtual and hybrid event for the first time. The MTC is joining forces with The Manufacturer magazine to deliver its Digitalising Manufacturing Conference virtually on November 9, and then as a two-day hybrid event at Exhibition Centre Liverpool on November 10 and 11, aligned with the Smart Factory Expo.

The conference, bringing together some of Europe’s leading experts on the digital revolution that is sweeping through the manufacturing industry, will aim to help UK manufacturers embrace the latest digital technologies and improve their businesses.

MTC chief executive, Dr Clive Hickman, said: “We have been supporters of Digital Manufacturing Week and The Manufacturer for many years. It is one of the most significant events in the manufacturing calendar and is always inspirational. We are delighted to bring one of our core events to the week, and run it both as a virtual event and an in-person event in Liverpool.”

Nick Hussey, CEO at publishers of The Manufacturer, Hennik Research, said: “The UK has, for too long, suffered through a lack of coordinated and structured support activities such as events, and bringing such a major event to DMW is hugely significant. We are delighted to be able to accommodate the event, with all its delegates and sponsors, as a key feature of DMW.”

The three-day Digitalising Manufacturing Conference will include a panel of international manufacturing experts examining initiatives and approaches to digitalisation around the globe. They will identify the challenges and opportunities for UK manufacturers, and where they can learn from the experience of manufacturers in Europe and beyond. The conference will also focus on the practical implementation of industrial digital technologies and skills, giving manufacturers a better understanding of the journey ahead of them, the challenges along the way, and practical advice on how to tackle them in manageable steps and, ultimately, make the right decisions for their business.

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