University Hospitals Dorset becomes first NHS trust to launch ‘Think Big’ project

Published: 1-Mar-2022

Trust repurposes equipment and supplies from Nightingale hospitals to create new health village in town centre

Thousands of hospital patients will be able to be seen at a new ‘health village’ in Poole's Dolphin Centre, after University Hospitals Dorset (UHD) became the first NHS trust to launch the ‘Think Big’ project.

The initiative is the first of its kind in the country and aims to tackle the huge NHS waiting lists backlog, as well as bringing diagnostic services closer to the community.

With the help of Yorkshire-based company, Innova Care Concepts, an outpatient assessment clinic, located on the second floor of the Beales department store, was built in a matter of weeks.

Constructed using material and equipment from decommissioned Nightingale hospitals, the 20,000sq ft clinic will cover ophthalmology, dermatology, breast screening, and musco-skeletal services, with dozens of volunteer navigators helping with patient flow.

The main objective of the project was to ‘repurpose’ existing materials and turn a redundant department store into a working, functioning clinic within an incredibly-short space of time.

A huge number of items of registered equipment were repurposed, with the Dorset team able to use Innova’s web portal to view every item online, so that the right equipment could be selected.

As a result, by working closely with construction partner, CFES; architect, BDP; and the NHS team, Innova Care Concepts was able to ensure that over 70% of the site was kitted out re-using equipment and materials from the Nightingale projects they had worked on previously.

Products and services repurposed included:

  • Numerous items of registered equipment
  • 1,000 plasterboards
  • Over 200 light fittings
  • Over 90 doors
  • 24,000m of metal stud
  • 12,000m of cabling
  • 1,000m of plumping pipework
  • 2,600sq m of partitioned space

Ashleigh Boreham, deputy director of transformation at NHS Dorset Clinic Commissioning Group, said: “The shared learnings obtained from the Nightingales’ set-up was a huge advantage to the team.

“Knowing what worked in terms of construction, what could easily be re-purposed, and having great existing relationships, meant meetings could be held virtually, saving the whole team time, reducing carbon emissions, and maximising the speed of the project.”

Joe Hulbert, sales director at Innova Care Concepts, adds: “Using our experience and agile team, we were able to support the trust by repurposing existing NHS assets, then sourcing, procuring, and project managing the rest of the equipment required.

“Not only were we able to help make some cost savings, we were also able to manage and oversee the whole equipping process while adhering to the tight timescales.

“As a result, the trust had a fully-equipped outpatients assessment clinic turned around within a matter of weeks.”

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