‘Major’ £9.5m investment at West Suffolk Hospital

Hannah Sharland, estates and facilities project manager at West Suffolk Hospital, and Paul Hutton, s

Hannah Sharland, estates and facilities project manager at West Suffolk Hospital, and Paul Hutton, senior site manager at Barnes Construction, at the demolition site are attached - Credit: Archant

Diggers are demolishing portable cabins at West Suffolk Hospital, making way for a £9.5m project that could free up 35 temporary beds.

Once work is complete next year on new office space for the hospital, the NHS trust hopes to use the freed-up space to create a 35-bed decant ward, where patients could be cared for while deep cleaning or maintenance works takes place.

As well as office space, the new £9.5m, three-floor building off Hardwick Lane will include a full decontamination and sterilisation service to clean equipment used in the hospital’s operating theatres, as well as within GP surgeries and by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

“The sterile services department plays a vital role in the running of the hospital, allowing the theatres to operate smoothly and efficiently,” said Craig Black, executive director of resources at the hospital.

“This exciting project will bring the latest state-of-the-art equipment to West Suffolk, in turn further improving the service our patients receive.”

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Mr Black described the project as a “major investment” for the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

“As well as improving efficiency by bringing sterile services onto the main hospital site, it will also make it easier to fast-track items which need cleaning more quickly while also allowing work to be drip-fed into sterile services, rather than all arriving in bulk,” he said.

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“We also hope that relocating office staff to the new building will eventually allow us to create a new decant ward in the main hospital, which will be incredibly useful when carrying out deep cleans or maintenance work.”

Following demolition, Mr Black said construction of the new building would take place over the next few months and that it should be completed in spring 2017.

Currently, the sterile services department is based in Hospital Round, around 1.5 miles away from the Hardwick Lane site, meaning drivers must make 29 trips between each site, racking up nearly 90 miles, while they are transporting the equipment.

A spokeswoman from the trust added machine parts at the current site were becoming “obsolete”, as the machinery became dated.

She confirmed the new unit would include “state-of-the-art equipment” to ensure sterilisation was of the highest possible standard.

Once construction is complete, office staff currently working within the main hospital will relocate to the upper floors of the new building.

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