With a capital cost of £318 million, the construction of acute in-patient facilities at Pinderfields General Hospital in Wakefield and a new Diagnostic and Treatment Centre at Pontefract General Infirmary is Yorkshire’s biggest PFI (Private Finance Initiative) to date. The facilities are designed to provide care for around half a million people living in the Wakefield and North Kirklees areas, but will also provide treatment for patients from surrounding areas, including South Leeds, North Yorkshire, Barnsley and Doncaster.
This news will no doubt be welcomed by both residents and those in the medical profession, as there was a long overdue need for investment in the existing hospitals. 74% of Pinderfields hospital was built before 1948, with 80% of the buildings housing clinical services now in need of major repair or replacement. At Pontefract General Infirmary, more than half of the buildings are rated as being impossible to improve without replacing them.
Ed Balls, Labour MP for Morley and Outwood spoke of the need for new facilities, saying: “For too long, people in our district have had to put up with outdated buildings.”
The new inpatient hospital includes 46 departments, 708 beds (of which 50% are en-suite rooms), 1,839 car park spaces and a stand-alone new build pathology building. Each of the outpatient services in the new Pinderfields Hospital offers much improved modern facilities, including larger, purpose-built consulting and treatment rooms, dedicated waiting areas and receptions along with the latest equipment and technology to support patient care and rehabilitation. Patients staying overnight now have access to more en-suite accommodation and single rooms to enhance privacy and dignity, whilst there are also a number of day rooms and dining areas to aid in their recovery.
The hospital has a relaxing environment with bright courtyards and landscaped garden areas, as well as the new ‘In Cafe’ for dining and refreshments.
The massive development programme was completed for Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospital Trust by Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd, who invested some £15 million of equity into the project. They were responsible for all of the construction, building services and physical facilities management. Balfour Beatty has a history of excellence; in 2009 they won the Constructing Excellence Leadership in People Development Award, the RoSPA Gold Award for Occupational Health & Safety and the Considerate Constructors Silver Award.
Julia Squire, Chief Executive of the Trust, said:
“What we are providing for patients in the new Pinderfields Hospital is first class care and now first class facilities. Patients can expect to receive their treatment in an environment designed around them.”
Pinderfields Hospital opened its doors to its first patients in June 14th 2010, less than 3 years after the contracts were signed. The Children’s Centre has all outpatient services for children in one place, along with the rehabilitation department for physiotherapy and occupational therapy, neurology outpatients, orthotics and clinical psychology. To mark the occasion, local MPs Mary Creagh and Ed Balls visited the new facilities, where they met staff and patients.
Since then the other departments, including: oncology/haematology, mammography, neurophysiology, cardio respiratory, ophthalmology and maternity have opened. In April 2011, the Trust expanded to provide community health services for the Wakefield District, including Adult Community Nursing, Children’s Health Services, Podiatry Care, Epilepsy Care and many others.
Physiotherapist Laura Lightfoot said: “It’s absolutely fantastic. We have got so much more space and the rooms we have got are amazing. I think it is really going to enhance patient care.”
Many different companies worked on the 86,000 sq m site. These included: Safety Net Services, who installed safety netting to the underside of all the floors and the underside of the roof; Prater Roofing Ltd. and Richard Lees Steel Decking; BDK Architects; and aluminium glazing specialist, Technal who, in partnership with Quest solutions, provided around 1,500 new windows for the £250 million Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield. Crown Trade provided around 70,000 litres of paint for the scheme.
The scheme was not without its challenges. Because Pinderfields was completed in phases, many of the facilities became operational whilst contractors were still hard at work. Proprietor Simon Magill said: “We all had to be extra vigilant as we were working next to hospital staff, patients and members of the public. This obviously put extra restrictions on when we could get work completed, but we still managed to meet all our schedules.”
In one day, 500 people attend the hospital’s Emergency Departments, they carry out over 235 planned procedures including operations, see around 1,850 people in their Outpatient departments, 2,700 meals are served to hospital patients and District Nurses make over 500 patient visits. In addition, around 18 babies are delivered in their maternity units and their Health Visitors see over 8 new babies.
It is hoped that the new hospitals will provide the medical support that the community has lacked for so long; delivering not only babies, but first class healthcare.