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14 January 2013

BRI redevelopment reaches major milestone

Today (Monday 14 January) work on the construction of the new ward block behind the Bristol Royal Infirmary reached its highest point.

The milestone was marked with a topping out ceremony at which University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) Chairman John Savage and Dr Mike Nevin, Head of the Division of Surgery, Head and Neck, tightened the last 'golden bolt' at the top of the new structure.

John Savage said: "This ceremony celebrates an important milestone in the redevelopment of the Bristol Royal Infirmary. This project has been many years in development and it is very exciting to see these plans coming to fruition.

"The investment the Trust is making in buildings and equipment now will serve us for many years to come and help us to transform the ways in which services are delivered to patients."

The £80 million new ward block, which is due to open in 2014, will see all clinical services move out of the Trust's oldest estate, the 1735 Old Building.

Dr Mike Nevin said: "This is an essential piece of work that will have a very positive outcome for our patients. We want the quality of our buildings to match the quality of the care we provide inside them; the development will more than double the number of single rooms and provide an improved environment for our patients and their families, while enabling us to work more efficiently and ensure patients recover and return home as quickly as possible."

UH Bristol has worked in close partnership with Laing O'Rourke, the construction company leading the project. Scott Palmer, Laing O'Rourke director, said: "With a shared desire to improve the care available to the community of Bristol we've been working in close collaboration with UH Bristol to deliver innovative solutions.

"Offsite manufacturing has played a key part in this, helping the team to deliver single bed wards, on time, to a high quality, and with an exemplary safety record, despite the logistically challenged environment. This is demonstrated by our strong health and safety performance throughout the 56 weeks of construction."

Hospitals' charity Above & Beyond is set to raise funds to support the redevelopment through a major appeal to be publicly launched later this year. The charity's input will significantly add to what the building programme is able to deliver for patients and hospital staff.

"Our vision is to help dedicated hospital staff develop the treatments of tomorrow and save even more lives. Our plans do not stop there. Through this historic building programme, we can deliver the very best for patients - with hospitals designed to offer privacy and dignity in care at a time when they need it most.

"It's quite a challenge in tough economic times. However as a Bristol charity we count ourselves luck to be in a caring city. The BRI was founded and funded in 1735 by Bristol people who cared. We now have a once in a life time opportunity - with the help of the people of Bristol - to create gold standard healthcare for future generations in our city and the South West," said Above & Beyond Chief Executive Sarah Talbot-Williams.

The development of the new ward block forms part of a larger project which includes the expansion and redevelopment of the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre and the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.