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A clean bill of health for Diana Princess of Wales Hospital
Rarely do environments offer as many challenges for construction companies as hospitals. However, like any public building they often require refurbishments and upgrades to keep the facilities up-to-date, modern and capable of meeting the needs of patients and staff. A key example of such work can be seen with the major refurbishment of a number of theatres, within the trauma and orthopaedic departments at the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital, Grimsby.
Delivered by Clugston Construction, the £1.3m project, which was completed in two phases to ensure operations within the hospital could continue uninterrupted, involved the complete refurbishment of three theatres. This included installing new flooring, theatre lighting, decoration, the installation of new pendants containing medical gasses and new digital panels.
Laminar flow ventilation systems were also installed to ensure a safe and sterile facility was maintained. The systems sit above the theatre beds and provide a uniformed directional airflow that moves harmful particles in the airstream away from areas that are intended to be contaminant-free. This ensures the air around the patient being operated on is as sterile as possible and potentially harmful contaminants are disposed of and contained.
As a modern hospital, with a modern emergency care centre, Princess Diana of Wales Hospital requires a leading-edge environment, with well-equipped facilities to support high quality care for all the patients.
With this in mind, significant investment was made in the trauma and orthopaedic departments including the surgical theatres, to guarantee the best possible care can be administered to patients. The refurbishment work to the theatres, which was completed within a working hospital environment, rrequired significant planning to ensure it could be delivered on time and within budget.
For hospital projects, the achievement of a cost, time and quality balance is particularly challenging, as the ‘live’ working environment presents several challenges in their own right. Flexibility, detailed planning and good budgeting are all vital for ensuring projects run smoothly and to the satisfaction of the client. For Diana Princess of Wales Hospital this was certainly the case.
In order to meet the challenges of the proposed programme, Clugston worked in collaboration with North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust to develop a phased plan of refurbishment, to reduce timescales, limit disruption to hospital operations and improve outputs.
Several additional factors also had to be considered whilst upgrades were completed. As refurbishment work took place, it was essential that there was always access to at least one live trauma theatre. Equally important was maintaining a sterile environment so that immediately after any deliveries or waste removal, the corridors were cleaned and maintained.
Due to these factors and the sensitive working environment, the project was delivered in two phases, which included out of hours working to ensure minimal disruption to ongoing operations in the hospital.
The first phase encompassed the refurbishment of a 24-hour trauma theatre with 100% sealed hoardings and measures to ensure a clean environment. As the conditions were ‘live’ work access was limited to between 6am and 7.30am, and all other access had to be through a ceiling recess in a nearby store cupboard. This meant that detailed planning was required to ensure all refurbishments were completed during restricted access periods.
Just what the doctor ordered
Such careful and considered planning was carried forward into phase two of the project. Prior to the commencement of the works, a two-week break period was observed to proof test the new trauma theatre, before taking another two theatres out of service for refurbishment.
However, rather than seeing this as a disruption, the Clugston team sought to maximise the opportunity and use it to plan for phase two. Detailed scheduling was undertaken alongside preparation for the second phase, ensuring the total disruption period of seven weeks remained concise and on budget.
Procedures were implemented to minimise material and waste movement, which was especially important as the existing air handling units had to be deconstructed and removed via the access point in the store cupboard ceiling.
The second phase also consisted of a new reception area, two surgical theatres, a new purpose-built storage area for orthopaedic equipment and several surgical preparation areas.
In order to ensure minimal disturbance and a clean hospital area, a 25-metre, 60-minute fire rated hoarding wall was erected along the main theatre corridor, which provided a sealed barrier between works and the hospital’s day-to-day activities.
Further safeguards were also implemented to provide surgical staff with peace of mind during the refurbishment period. For example, each of the theatres had a separate auxiliary power supply to ensure they could run independently, in case of power cuts or disruption to power in the adjacent theatres during works.
Collaboration was an essential element to the works with Clugston’s team sympathetic and sensitive to the surgical team’s requirements. Refurbishment was completed during evenings and weekends to minimise disruption, whilst provisions were also put in place to ensure construction work could be halted, should any of the fit-out team’s activities hinder the surgical works.
Picture of health
The refurbishment of hospitals can pose substantial challenges for the NHS trust and construction companies alike. However, at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital, Clugston Construction have demonstrated how a collaborative approach can help deliver projects to tight timescales, on time and on budget.
By taking such a meticulous approach to planning and phasing works, Clugston was able to deliver the refurbishment to a high-standard within budget and to pre-set deliverable timescales. In fact, such was the success of the refurbishment works, Clugston Construction’s team was able to identify savings equivalent to £80,000, which allowed North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust to increase expenditure on vital equipment.