Foundation trust chooses off-site solution to expand ward accommodation

Yorkon solution provides 34-bed emergency care ward at Frimley Park Hospital

Frimley Park Hospital chose a Yorkon off-site building solution from the Portakabin Group for a new 34-bed emergency care ward to help address the increased pressure on health services during peak periods.

The two-storey ward building, which provides beds for critical and elderly care, was handed over after just four months on site. The use of off-site construction ensured any disruption to the hospital was kept to an absolute minimum and radically reduced the programme time to allow earlier occupation.

The pressure on health services, and particularly on emergency care units, continues to rise year on year

Frimley Park Hospital, part of Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, was the first hospital in the UK to be rated 'Outstanding' by the Care Quality Commission. It serves around 400,000 local people in Surrey, Hampshire and East Berkshire and has experienced significant increases in GP referrals and emergency medical admissions.

The new ward building has expanded capacity and was manufactured and partially fitted-out offsite in York, which cut the programme time by around half compared to site-based building methods.

Commenting on the use of a Yorkon off-site solution, Greg Hinde, capital project manager at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust. Said: “Speed was the principal driver for choosing a modular building approach for this scheme. Site-based construction just would not have enabled us to have the building up and running as quickly.

“The new wards have been well received by staff and patients. We think the design of the workstations within the bed bay areas works particularly well and facilitates improved patient contact. The overall design and layout is very open and spacious and it provides a fantastic environment for patient care, and for staff to work in.”

Simon Ambler, director of the Portakabin Group, added: “The pressure on health services, and particularly on emergency care units, continues to rise year on year. As a result, we are seeing increased demand for a range of healthcare buildings – wards, theatres and diagnostic facilities - which are being strategically planned by trusts anticipating their needs for the coming winter months and peak periods.”

We are seeing increased demand for a range of healthcare buildings – wards, theatres and diagnostic facilities - which are being strategically planned by trusts anticipating their needs for the coming winter months and peak periods

He added: “These buildings are complex, specialist and highly-serviced facilities required to expand capacity on typically extremely-constrained hospital sites. These requirements are increasingly being met using offsite solutions – in up to half the time of site-based building methods, with much less disruption to patient care, greater certainty of completion on budget and on programme, and to stringent quality and NHS standards.”

Facilities in the new building include single en-suite rooms and six to nine-bed wards, clean and dirty utilities, kitchenettes, staff rooms, offices and stores. Externally, it was finished in light grey with a dark grey trim and it has a flush, column-free façade.

The use of an offsite solution for the building also helped to address the site challenges. This was a highly-restricted, sloping site in close proximity to other hospital facilities, which had to remain in use throughout the construction programme. A retaining wall was constructed as the site sits lower than the adjacent road – and this blue light route had to have access for emergency vehicles maintained at all times.

The pre-installed Yorkon concrete floor system was specified throughout the building for a robust and high-performance finish. The new wards are linked to an existing ward building at both ground and first-floor levels which required precision engineering of the steel-framed modules.

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