Modular build creates winter 'surge' ward at Watford General Hospital

Unprecedented demand calls for modern solution as temporary wards are built in four months

The Portakabin solution has delivered temporary ward space to cope with the increase in demand at Watford General Hospital

A modular building system has been used to create a ‘surge’ ward at Watford General Hospital to keep on top of an unprecedented demand for emergency care services.

The Portakabin hire solution produced an HTM-compliant modular ward building in just four months.

The new 18-bed facility will be in use for the next three years while other changes are undertaken to allow the trust to cater for greater patient numbers. A further two-storey ‘surge’ ward building is also being provided for a five-year period.

The specification for the ‘surge’ building was developed by the trust in partnership with Portakabin and comprises two separate wards to achieve same-sex compliance and to meet all relevant HTM guidelines. It features a central core area to accommodate facilities such as clean and dirty utilities, kitchen, reception, toilets and showers, with two spacious nine-bed wards to either side.

Commenting on the project, Kyle McClelland, associate director for strategic developments at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said, “The timescale for getting this building on site was extremely challenging. Portakabin had just four months to design, build and hand over the building and this was achieved on time.

“The new ward has been well received by both staff and patients. The spacing of the beds is generous and the quality of the finishes meets all our requirements. It has helped us to manage the increased demand for our services.”

The building is located in a car park, with a link corridor to the main hospital, and its modular construction meant it required no intrusive ground works, allowing the car park to be left intact. As part of the contract, Portakabin managed the building installation and fit-out, including foul drain connections, all reception furniture, special NHS-standard bedheads, alarm systems, heavy-duty flooring, cabling for data communications, and climate control systems.

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