Modular build solution helps hospitals expand over winter

Portakabin launches new solution to help hospitals cope with increasing demand

WardSpace is the new estates solution from Portakabin

A new estates solution has been unveiled to help hospitals across the UK improve waiting times and manage the increasing demand for beds over the peak winter period.

Modular building specialist, Portakabin, has launched WardSpace, a range of options for standardised hospital buildings that will enable trusts to rapidly expand facilities without investing in expensive new infrastructure.

The ready-to-use, fully-equipped buildings can be erected in just a few days and can be used as interim facilities during redevelopment, as temporary overflow accommodation, or as permanent units.

Our aim with WardSpace is to make it even easier for healthcare providers to rapidly expand their facilities at peak times, for example when winter flu viruses cause a sudden increase in unplanned admissions, or to minimise disruption while a new permanent building is under construction

The pods feature a central core accommodating a nurses’ station, dirty and clean utilities, a reception, waiting area, toilets and showers and there is a choice of open-plan single-sex wards, individual en-suite bedrooms, or a suite of consulting rooms or any combination.

The units can also be configured with hand hygiene stations, heavy-duty flooring, climate control, alarm systems and wall protection panels, as well as NHS-standard fitted bed heads.

Commenting on the launch, Robert Snook, director and general manager of Portakabin Hire, said: “Our aim with WardSpace is to make it even easier for healthcare providers to rapidly expand their facilities at peak times, for example when winter flu viruses cause a sudden increase in unplanned admissions, or to minimise disruption while a new permanent building is under construction, and we can provide buildings to the tightest deadlines, just days from receiving the order.”

He added: “Modular construction is a fast and cost-effective way to expand ward and consulting facilities, particularly on constrained hospital sites where it is critical to minimise disruption to patients. Complete, fully-fitted buildings can be delivered in a fraction of the time of a site-based construction solution.

Modular construction is a fast and cost-effective way to expand ward and consulting facilities, particularly on constrained hospital sites where it is critical to minimise disruption to patients

“Choosing a hire solution also means that a building can be reconfigured or relocated as local needs and priorities change and, importantly, the approach can generate revenue for the hospital that will help to recover the cost of hiring the building – to the benefit of patient care.”

The solution has recently been used at Watford General Hospital where a lack of ward space was limiting the ability to reduce waiting times in line with the 18-week target set by the Department of Health.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, decided to set up a ‘surge’ ward to cope with the demand for emergency beds and to act as a safety valve to ensure availability.

The WardSpace solution is expected to be used for three years and was delivered within four months. It measures 340sq m and provides 18 beds in two nine-bed wards. It was sited in the carpark with a link corridor constructed to join it to the main hospital building.

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