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18 August 2011

Bristol Heart Institute welcomes visitors on Bristol Doors Open Day

There is a unique opportunity for the people of Bristol to see behind the scenes at the Bristol Heart Institute (BHI) - University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust's RIBA award-winning flagship building - on Bristol Doors Open Day, from 10am to 4pm (last entrants at 3.30pm) on Saturday 10 September 2011. Now in its eighteenth year this is the day when many of Bristol's significant contemporary and historic buildings open their doors to the general public. 

The BHI was designed by Bristol-based CODA Architects, in partnership with patients, staff and the public, to deliver the very best in cardiac services to the people of Bristol, South West and beyond.  The £61m building opened in May 2009. Since then more than 28,000 inpatients and outpatients have been seen for a full range of diagnostic and interventional treatments for heart conditions. 

On the day, ushers will guide visitors through the light and airy atrium with its 14 real trees from the fig family and continue on to the day care area.  This is where patients are prepared prior to treatment and where they are taken to recover following their treatment. Clinicians will be on hand to explain more to visitors and to answer questions. 

The tour continues from the day care area to the catheter laboratories where cardiology diagnostic tests and treatments are performed.  Visitors will be shown the bi-plane catheter laboratory, which houses an X-ray machine designed to take two angles of the heart of patients to give sharper diagnostic images of heart problems. The BHI was built with future expansion in mind so while there are currently three catheter laboratories in use, there is also a spacious room ready to be equipped as and when expansion is required.  

As they leave, visitors will see the patient lifts.  During the consultation about the design of the building, patients told us that when they are on beds and being wheeled through hospital, the main thing they see is fluorescent lights.  So artists worked with our porters and designed beautiful patient lift ceilings.  From the patient lifts, visitors will be guided back into the atrium where the coffee shop will be serving refreshments from 10am until 4pm. 

Says Fiona Jones, acting divisional manager of the Division of Specialised Services: "Since it opened in May 2009, the new BHI building has delivered real benefits for patients.  We are able to offer them a seamless cardiac service in the most modern and professional surroundings and this in turn helps to reassure patients that they will be getting the best care.  From the welcoming entrance with trees and art installations to the comfortable and spacious wards, the BHI gives a tremendous boost to both staff and our patients." 

Graham Brant, matron at the BHI, says:  "The Bristol Heart Institute is tucked away behind the BRI so Open Doors Day gives us the chance to show you one of Bristol's best kept secrets.  It offers 21st century care given in a 21st century setting."