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29 June 2011

£80 million redevelopment of the Bristol Royal Infirmary reaches milestone

The £80 million redevelopment of the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI), which will greatly improve the hospital environment for patients in the centre of Bristol, reached another milestone today as the Board of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) approved the full business case for the redevelopment.

At the end of March it was announced that the Trust had secured the £70 million loan for the refurbishment by the Department of Health. The Trust aims to sign a contract with construction company Laing O'Rourke in the summer.

Robert Woolley, Chief Executive, said: "We have worked on this redevelopment for many years and today is a very big day for the Trust, for our patients and for our staff. We are redeveloping our hospitals to improve the hospital environment for our patients and our staff and the new facilities will enable us to transform the ways in which services are delivered to patients. This redevelopment will enable us to work more efficiently, ensuring that patients are diagnosed and treated quickly and are only admitted to hospital if they need to be. We are working with our NHS partners in this area to transform care for our patients and this is a very important part of this."

The redevelopment will consist of a new ward block built on the Terrell Street site behind the BRI, refurbishment of the Queens building, the conversion of wards in the King Edward building and the retirement of the Old Building, which still houses Nightingale inpatient wards.

Dr Chris Monk, a consultant anaesthetist and Head of the Division of Medicine, said: "This is fantastic news. The Old Building, built in 1735, is the oldest NHS building still in clinical use. The inside of the Old Building and the King Edward Building are old-fashioned and impractical. Not designed for modern practice, either for medicine or surgery, the buildings have limited and inflexible space which means our staff face huge challenges in delivering their high standard of care for adult patients. The new and updated buildings will enable our clinicians to improve care for patients and will also enable us to work more efficiently."

This will be done by:

• Putting the right services adjacent to one another in the hospital to ensure that wherever possible, patients can be treated quickly in one area and will not need to travel long distances through the hospital;

• Streamlining the emergency assessment and admission process to give patients rapid access to diagnostic tests and to reduce the amount of unnecessary time they spend in hospital;

• Improving the way in which patients are assessed prior to having an operation to reduce the amount of time they need to spend in hospital and improve their experience of their care;

• Improving the environment for patients and staff by providing modern, state-of-the-art facilities which meet the latest environmental standards and infection control standards;

• Increasing the number of single rooms to ensure our patients' privacy and dignity is respected. This will also help us to further reduce the number of hospital acquired infections and ensure compliance with single sex accommodation requirements.

Within the BRI, the refurbishment will provide:

• An integrated assessment unit, bringing together all the clinical staff to assess and treat adult patients who need to be admitted to hospital;

• An urgent ambulatory care centre, adjacent to the emergency department, where the patients who do not need to be admitted to hospital can be treated,  and sent back home or into community services;

• A purpose built short stay unit for patients who are likely to be discharged within 60 hours;

• A state-of-the-art intensive care unit;

• A surgical floor with wards that are located directly next door to theatres and the intensive care unit; and

• A medical floor where key medical wards are adjacent to each other to allow integrated care by all clinical staff.

Dr Mike Nevin, a consultant in intensive care and Head of the Division of Surgery, Head and Neck, said: "It is impossible to overstate exactly how important making these structural changes are in regard to our ability as a Trust to offer the highest standards of clinical care to the people of Bristol. We will be offering 21st century models of care for medicine and surgery in state-of-the-art buildings that are fit for purpose. Better diagnostics, and senior medical input in the new integrated assessment unit, will help decrease the number of patients admitted to hospital unnecessarily, returning the patients back to the safety of their homes, and to our partners providing community services."

This is the second full business case that UH Bristol has signed up to in as many months. At the end of February, the Board agreed the business case to centralise specialist children's services at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. Paediatric burns, orthopaedics, plastic surgery and neurosciences services are due to move from Frenchay Hospital in 2014. Services will be housed in an extension to the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children which will link to the new ward block for the BRI. Last week Bristol City Council granted planning permission for the extension to the Children's Hospital provided some conditions are met.