New Southmead Hospital building completed
THE NEW Southmead Hospital building is now complete, two years after construction work began.
The halfway point in the erection of the state of the art facilities has been reached in time and on budget.
The £430million hospital promises to be the most environmentally-friendly of its size in the country when it opens its doors in Spring 2014.
The inside of the building is also taking shape with wards, theatres and outpatients' areas all fitted in areas that were just a shell a few months ago.
Most of the en-suite shower and toilet facilities have been installed in the single inpatient rooms.
The hospital’s overarching design and its sustainable vision are also becoming more apparent.
Thanks to large windows in each of the one-bed patient rooms and at each end of the corridors, wards will be bathed in light considerably improving the healing process.
The significant increase in the number of single rooms, which will make up 75 per cent of all rooms, will improve privacy as will the complete separation of public areas and wards.
Tricia Down, North Bristol NHS Trust deputy director of projects, told the Gazette: "We took a long time as a trust to decide what we wanted. Light was really important. It helps people heal. And we wanted the separation of patients and public flows.
"People have worked very hard and now you see the fruits of their labour. Everyone is so pleased with the design and the quality of it."
The new theatres have been equipped with a more advanced ventilation system to improve infection control.
Most of the current hospital will be demolished once the new facilities are completed although its listed buildings, including Beaufort House, will be kept as part of the Southmead complex. Some will be turned into offices while others will house clinical services.
The maternity unit will also remain but will undergo some regeneration work to stay in keeping with the new seven-storey building.
The concept and airy aspect of the multi-million pound facilities are gradually winning over staff who were opposed to downgrading Frenchay Hospital to a rehabilitation centre and moving most services in the area to Southmead, according to Mrs Down.
She added: "We are beginning to turn some people around, especially people on the Frenchay site, because they can see what a great building it is. It will be the only hospital of its kind in the UK when it opens."
Marie-Noelle Orzel, chief executive at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: "It is amazing to see the new hospital take shape before our eyes to become a beacon of modern healthcare for the future.
"Patients will benefit from greater privacy and dignity, and have access to clinical services under one roof."
The hospital could be renamed on completion to mark the start of a new era in healthcare in the region.