Major refurbishment of trauma and orthopaedic theatres carried out with minimum disruption
Rarely do environments offer as many challenges for construction companies as hospitals.
However, like any public building they often require refurbishments and upgrades to keep facilities up-to-date, modern, and capable of meeting the needs of patients and staff.
A key example of such work can be seen with the major refurbishment of a number of theatres within the trauma and orthopaedic departments at the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital, Grimsby.
As a modern hospital, with a modern emergency care centre, Princess Diana of Wales Hospital requires a leading-edge environment, with well-equipped facilities to support high-quality care for all patients
Delivered by Clugston Construction, the £1.3m project, which was completed in two phases to ensure operations within the hospital could continue uninterrupted, involved the complete refurbishment of three theatres.
This work included installing new flooring, theatre lighting, decoration, the installation of new pendants containing medical gases ,and new digital panels.
Laminar flow ventilation systems were also installed to ensure a safe and sterile facility was maintained.
The systems sit above the theatre beds and provide a uniformed directional airflow that moves harmful particles in the airstream away from areas that are intended to be contaminant-free. This ensures the air around the patient being operated on is as sterile as possible and potentially-harmful contaminants are disposed of and contained.
As a modern hospital, with a modern emergency care centre, Princess Diana of Wales Hospital requires a leading-edge environment, with well-equipped facilities to support high-quality care for all patients.
With this in mind, significant investment was made in the trauma and orthopaedic departments, including the surgical theatres, to guarantee the best-possible care can be administered to patients.
The refurbishment work to the theatres, which was completed within a working hospital environment, required significant planning to ensure it could be delivered on time and within budget.
For hospital projects, the achievement of a cost, time and quality balance is particularly challenging, as the ‘live’ working environment presents several challenges in their own right. Flexibility, detailed planning and good budgeting are all vital for ensuring projects run smoothly and to the satisfaction of the client. For Diana Princess of Wales Hospital this was certainly the case.
In order to meet the challenges of the proposed programme, Clugston worked in collaboration with North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust to develop a phased plan of refurbishment, to reduce timescales, limit disruption to hospital operations, and improve outputs.
In order to ensure minimal disturbance and a clean hospital area, a 25-metre, 60-minute fire-rated hoarding wall was erected along the main theatre corridor, which provided a sealed barrier between works and the hospital’s day-to-day activities
Several additional factors also had to be considered while upgrades were completed. As refurbishment work took place, it was essential there was always access to at least one live trauma theatre.
Equally important was maintaining a sterile environment so that immediately after any deliveries or waste removal, the corridors were cleaned and maintained.
Due to these factors and the sensitive working environment, the project was delivered in two phases, which included out-of-hours working to ensure minimal disruption to ongoing operations in the hospital.
The first phase encompassed the refurbishment of a 24-hour trauma theatre with 100% sealed hoardings and measures to ensure a clean environment.
As the conditions were ‘live’ work access was limited to between 6-7.30am, and all other access had to be through a ceiling recess in a nearby store cupboard. This meant that detailed planning was required to ensure all refurbishments were completed during restricted access periods.
Such careful and considered planning was carried forward into phase two of the project.
Prior to the commencement of the works, a two-week break period was observed to proof test the new trauma theatre, before taking another two theatres out of service for refurbishment.
However, rather than seeing this as a disruption, the Clugston team sought to maximise the opportunity and use it to plan for phase two. Detailed scheduling was undertaken alongside preparation for the second phase, ensuring the total disruption period of seven weeks remained concise and on budget.
Procedures were implemented to minimise material and waste movement, which was especially important as the existing air handling units had to be deconstructed and removed via the access point in the store cupboard ceiling.
By taking such a meticulous approach to planning and phasing works, Clugston was able to deliver the refurbishment to a high standard, within budget, and to pre-set deliverable timescales
The second phase also consisted of a new reception area, two surgical theatres, a new purpose-built storage area for orthopaedic equipment, and several surgical preparation areas.
In order to ensure minimal disturbance and a clean hospital area, a 25-metre, 60-minute fire-rated hoarding wall was erected along the main theatre corridor, which provided a sealed barrier between works and the hospital’s day-to-day activities.
Further safeguards were also implemented to provide surgical staff with peace of mind during the refurbishment period.
For example, each of the theatres had a separate auxiliary power supply to ensure they could run independently, in case of power cuts or disruption to power in the adjacent theatres during works.
Refurbishment was completed during evenings and weekends to minimise disruption, while provisions were also put in place to ensure construction work could be halted should any of the fit-out team’s activities hinder the surgical works.
By taking such a meticulous approach to planning and phasing works, Clugston was able to deliver the refurbishment to a high standard, within budget, and to pre-set deliverable timescales.
In fact, such was the success of the refurbishment works, the construction team was able to identify savings equivalent to £80,000, which allowed North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust to increase spending on vital equipment.