HEALTH chiefs want permission to build an extra ward than they had previously planned for at Hereford County Hospital to increase patient capacity.

Wye Valley NHS Trust representatives have submitted plans to Herefordshire Council which, if approved, would mean extending the existing proposals for a two storey building to three, allowing for an extra 24 beds.

These proposals are part of a £21 million project to future proof the bed capacity at the county hospital.

Planning permission was granted last March for the trust to build two new wards to replace the Canadian hutted wards, which at around 80 years of age, are long past their intended useable life span but are an integral part of the bed space at the hospital.

A further planning application has now been submitted for a third ward, as part of this project, to provide the trust with extra beds.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “The Trust is seeking approval of NHS Improvement (the body which monitors the performance of NHS hospital trusts in England) to fund the ambitious £21 million project.

“The first phase of the project is nearing completion with the majority of the four unoccupied hutted wards now demolished, apart from the front entrances and part of the adjoining corridor, which are due to be demolished shortly.

“Subject to planning and funding approval, the new wards are expected to open to patients in 2020 when the remaining two hutted wards will be demolished.”

Residents have until January 20 to comment on the scheme which council planners are expected to consider by March 20.