News round-up: Construction and design

Read on for our weekly round-up of healthcare construction and design news, including completions, new contract wins, up-coming developments and the deployment of innovative products

Childrens hospice plans unveiled

PLANS have been submitted for a landmark new children's hospice in London. Noah's Ark Children's Hospice has commissioned Project 5 Architecture to design the innovative and sustainable new building for life-limited children and the plans have now been submitted to Barnet Council. The facility, to be sited on a brownfield site within an extensive nature reserve, will provide six bedrooms, daycare facilities, family accommodation, bereavement suites and offices. The hospice group is also providing a new environmental centre to be occupied by local groups for educational purposes.

The timber-clad hospice building and the adjoined centre will be predominately single storey with sedum roofs, solar hot water panels, solar photovoltaics and an air source heat pump. It has been designed to maximise natural light and ventilation and will be surrounded by landscaped gardens, viewing platforms, play spaces and meadows. Each bedroom will have access to individual gardens, with the building wrapped around a protected central courtyard.

Revamp of Aintree Hospital underway

PATIENTS have moved onto a newly-revamped ward at Liverpool's Aintree Hospital. The opening of Ward 4 marks the first phase in a redevelopment project that will see 18 inpatient units at the hospital undergo a facelift in an effort to improve standards for staff and patients. It marks the first major improvements since the hospital was built in the 1960s. The new facility includes an advanced heating system, programmable lights that dim automatically at night, and motion-sensitive wash stations to boost infection control. Michael Ruffley, project manager at the hospital, said: “This was a significant project which followed eight months of consultation with staff throughout the hospital. There was a four-month construction period, which required us to carry out work in a functioning hospital without impacting patient care. The feedback so far has been extremely positive and the new features will enable us to deliver a consistently high quality of service.”

Sarah Coppell, a digestive diseases matron on Ward 4, added: “The improvements have made a huge difference to the service we can offer. The patient bays have en-suite disabled washing and toilet facilities, meaning improved comfort and dignity for all patients. The new décor and soft furnishings may appear to be small changes, but they can make a big difference to how patients and their visitors feel when they are in hospital.” The construction work was carried out by Nobles Construction, MJ Quinn Integrated Services and A&T Engineering, with design by Taylor Young architects and Steven Hunt & Associates.

Green light for Maidstone health centre

PLANNING permission has been granted for a £3m primary health centre in Maidstone. Councillors have given the green light to Assura Group to develop the 11,800sq m facility, which will house The Vine Medical Centre, in Tonbridge Road. The plans include car parking and an integrated pharmacy, as well as 10 townhouses. Simon Gould, development manager at Assura, said: “We are delighted that Maidstone Borough Council has approved our plans and are confident the development will significantly improve the standard of primary healthcare for the local community.” Dr Helen Downing, lead GP at The Vine Medical Centre, added: “This new facility has been designed specifically to meet our exacting needs and will make a huge difference in the service we can provide for our patients. Our current building is now too small and is restricting the number of new patients we can take on. Now that the planning is in place, we look forward to seeing the first spade put in the ground.” Work is expected to start early next year.

Five shortlisted for Bicester revamp

FIVE development partners have been shortlisted to lead the £15m revamp of Bicester Community Hospital. NHS Oxfordshire has not released the names of those chosen, but over the next few months will work with them to draw up plans. If confirmed that none of the bidders has secured land on an alternative site to that of the current hospital in King’s End, the facility will remain where it is, with a proposed move to the Kingsmere Estate effectively dropped.

Coventry health centre completed

BUILDING work on a new £23m health centre in Coventry has been completed and the keys handed over to the NHS. The five-storey City of Coventry Health Centre in Foleshill will house GP surgeries, a walk-in centre, a pharmacy, community health services and an out-of-hours service. It is expected to open to the public in January 2012, although there will be an open day on 10 December. Alison Gingell, chairman of the Arden Cluster which is comprised of NHS Coventry and NHS Warwickshire, said: “I'm excited that we are another step closer to the opening of the new health centre and I know local people in the area will be pleased to know that we’re nearly ready to open the building for them to start using services from January.”

ALSO IN THE NEWS:

The PFI partner behind the Royal Blackburn Hospital has sold its stake in the building. Balfour Beatty has handed its 50% share to HICL, which has owned half the contract since the hospital was built in 2006.

Knightsbridge Furniture has extended its Hallam range of motorised and manual recliners to include models designed specifically for obese patients and residents.

Amber Infrastructure has won the first project in a £75m framework for new community healthcare facilities in Shropshire.

NHS North East strategic health authority has approved plans for an £18m health centre in Morpeth. The facility at Mount Haggs Field will open in 2013.

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Knightsbridge Furniture (more information, website)

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