Friday, March 23, 2012

On time and on budget – the £430m Southmead Hospital

THE main structure of the new £430 million Southmead Hospital has been completed.

Now that the building has taken shape work will move inside the super hospital as contractors spend the final two years fitting it out.

The new hospital, which is being built by Carillion through a private finance initiative, is set to open in 2014 and is currently on time and budget.

It will bring together services from the current Frenchay and Southmead hospitals under one roof with most patients staying in single rooms.

To mark the significant point in the redevelopment project a ceremony was held on the roof, where the last concrete was poured.

At the same time some of the staff who will work at the hospital were invited to join the celebrations and take a first look around the building.

About 20 employees walked around the site, representing different groups from both Frenchay and Southmead hospitals.

Among them was Arlene Hill, a matron for surgery at Southmead, who did her nurse training at the hospital and has worked there ever since returning in 1987.

"I got to see where I will be working," she said.

"It was fantastic, the building is amazing and the attention to detail is fantastic.

"It is going to be such a fantastic environment for patients. It is going to be so much better for patients and staff.

"The light comes in everywhere. It is so bright and light it is almost like it is not a hospital but you are outside.

"My office overlooks the site but you can't really appreciate the scale of the building until you are inside.

"I was really looking forward to moving into the hospital before I went on the tour and now I just can't wait for it to open."

Having looked around the building Ms Hill has gone back to her colleagues to let them know what it was like.

Consultant Gareth Wrathall, who is director of the intensive care unit, has been involved with discussions on the planning of the new hospital since 2005, but had not looked around the building before.

"Over the years I have seen lots of drawings," Dr Wrathall said.

"But to see how it is all fitting together and how it feels when you walk in, even now when it is only steel and concrete we got to get that 3D perspective of how it will be and that was good."

Dr Wrathall said that the new hospital will enable North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) to locate the intensive care unit in the optimum position, alongside the emergency department and x-rays.

"When patients come into the hospital they can come in very quickly and get to the place they need to go to," he said.

"If they need to go to theatre early they can go there, if they need urgent x-rays they can go there and once that has been done if necessary they can get to the intensive care unit.

"Often these are patients that we have to move through departments very quickly and that is more difficult in the older hospital we are working in.

"In this new hospital we put these adjacencies together in the very early days."

Director of projects at NBT, David Powell, said that now the final concrete has been poured on the roof the focus of the project will move to installing pipes and wires, doors, partitions and then equipment.

"We will be starting to make it look like an actual building rather than a building site, from the front of the building to the back, putting partitions in and making rooms complete," Mr Powell said. "The fit-out will take two years until April 2014.

"You can now see some of the walls of the operating theatres and can start to see the size and proportions of some of the rooms now."

The bathroom pods for patient rooms have all been put in and partitions between the rooms have now been put up.

Mr Powell said: "It is great. It's very exciting.

"We have started to see it and can touch and feel it now as opposed to being on drawings."

Ruth Brunt, chief executive of North Bristol NHS Trust, said: "This new hospital building heralds an exciting new era for patients, staff and the trust. It's a major project that is progressing on time and on budget.

"This ceremony marked the completion of concreting at roof level, a key milestone in the project.

"We've now reached the stage of detailed planning for how services will be provided in the new building as we bring the specialties from Southmead and Frenchay hospitals together in 2014."

Carillion project director Keith Hutton said: "Carillion is delighted to be working with the NBT on the new Southmead Hospital which will provide state-of-the art healthcare facilities for the people of Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

"This event marks a further important milestone in the construction of this outstanding project."

On time and on budget – the £430m Southmead Hospital

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