Outdated hospital brought into the 21st Century

New Bridgwater Community Hospital opens its doors

Bridgwater Community Hospital

A new 21st-century health centre has opened in Bath.

The DKA-designed Bridgwater Community Hospital has been developed for Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in conjunction with Integrated Health Projects.

Located between junctions 24 and 23 of the M5, it replaces the previous hospital, which after 200 years of service had become costly to maintain and was failing to meet many modern standards. The new facility has 30 inpatient beds - 18 of which are in single en-suite rooms – as well as birthing, day treatment, imaging, outpatient and therapies departments, an endoscopy suite, and a minor injuries unit.

The key design principles in planning the site were to provide easy access from the existing road network, maximise views out to the surrounding countryside, minimise noise from the adjacent motorway, provide adequate car parking, and allow for future expansion.

Planned around an internal courtyard, and with generous areas of glazing, the opportunities to bring natural light and ventilation into the building are maximised. Combined with the subtle internal colour scheme, which was informed by DKA’s Dementia Strategy, the internal environment has a pleasant and calming atmosphere.

The layout of the building ensures that patients experience privacy and dignity in their surroundings and are able to move around the building without passing through any public areas. The majority of the inpatient beds also enjoy views to the outside either looking to the Quantock Hills to the west or the Polden Hills to the east.

Project architect at DKA, Adrian Abbs, said: “The layout of this hospital represents the culmination of almost 10 years experience designing community hospitals. Using both the latest guidance and our experience we produced a number of exemplar rooms which were agreed by the clinical leads at feasibility stage.

“Good design in healthcare is essential. A welcoming and relaxing setting is proven to make the experience of patients and visitors alike less stressful and thus aides the healing process, as well as providing a positive working environment for the staff.”

David Kent, founder of DKA, added: “As healthcare standards, our client’s requirements, and models of healthcare have developed, so have the designs. Bridgwater must, therefore, stand as one of the best-researched community hospitals around.

“The facility has been designed to achieve a high level of long-term sustainability based on strategic design decisions over site planning, building form, layout and orientation. It will be expandable, adaptable to changing functional requirements over time, and flexible to accommodate shorter-term changes in use. This has already been put to the test by the introduction of an endoscopy suite, which was added to the project part way though the construction programme.”

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