New £21m daycase unit making inroads for Herefordshire residents

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 19-Jun-2023

Building work at Hereford County Hospital reaches significant milestone

A new daycase surgical unit which will cut waiting lists for patients in Herefordshire is rising from the ground at Hereford County Hospital.

A short project ceremony was held at the hospital site this week to celebrate a major milestone in the construction of the new unit – the completion of the steel skeleton for the new building.

The development, designed by ADP Architects and being built by Speller Metcalfe, is now well underway, following the unanimous decision by local planners to support investment in key NHS services earlier this year.

The types of procedure that will be offered in the new unit include a mix of daycase surgeries, including gynaecology, ENT, urology, general surgical, orthopaedic, dental, oral, and cataract procedures.

Providing this type of surgery in a dedicated environment will boost productivity, improve patient outcomes, and reduce waiting times, as well as reduce pressures on staff by moving elective surgeries that currently take place in the main hospital to the new site.

Beds in the new unit will also be ring-fenced for planned operations, reducing the risk of short-notice cancellations.

Making a difference

Mehmood Akhtar, consultant urological surgeon and associate medical director (Surgery) at Wye Valley NHS Trust, said: “This new facility has the potential to make a huge difference for our patients, who will be able to be seen and treated in modern, state-of-the-art facilities.

“We appreciate the inconvenience cancelled procedures can have on patients and this new facility will go some way to help prevent the need to delay care and treatment and we are looking forward to receiving our first patients in late spring next year.”

Alan Dawson, the trust’s chief strategy and planning officer, added: “The demolition of the last of our 1940s hutted wards has made way for this unit, which will effectively be a standalone facility.

“It will be run in a way that means it will not be affected by sudden pressures in our emergency department, which have curtailed routine elective procedures in the past.”

The aim of the Government-backed scheme is to deliver almost two million extra routine operations across 50 new facilities nationally, which will incorporate at least 100 new operating theatres and more than 1,000 beds.

The new daycase surgical unit will be situated within the main hospital grounds to minimise travel times for both staff and patients.

Relieving the pressure

Project managed by Currie & Brown, the centre – which will be built across two storeys – will house two operating theatres, assessment rooms, pre-op waiting rooms, recovery bays, and a dedicated cataract suite, alongside staff offices and a main reception.

Mark Hudgeon, regional director at Speller Metcalfe, said: “We are currently flooded with news regarding NHS pressures and there is no shying away from the fact that staff and patients all over the UK need additional resources to combat healthcare pressures.

“We are eager to be a part of the solution and are delighted to support Wye Valley NHS Trust to deliver both the quantity and quality of care required by a growing Herefordshire community.”

Set to complete in late spring next year, the project has been built with sustainability in mind, with the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ design incorporating energy performance targets and future flexibility for the trust.

And the scheme is the first project procured under the new ProCure23 national healthcare framework for the design and construction of NHS capital projects – a collaboration between NHS England and Crown Commercial Service, which has an anticipated cumulative £9billion spend during its lifetime.

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