Demolition of the concrete canopy over the entrance to the former West Wing at Walsall Manor Hospital is well under way as contractors work on the first phase of a new multi-million pound Integrated Critical Care Unit (ICCU).
The new ICCU, scheduled for completion in winter 2018, will bring together Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) and the High Dependency Unit (HDU) creating an 18-bedded unit, which is an increase of five beds.
John Cottrell, Skanska Project Manager, explained that this is a “controlled” demolition.
“As we are working on a busy hospital site we are mindful of the importance of minimising the impact of a major building project upon patients and staff here so this demolition is being done in stages,” he said.
“We started earlier this week by removing what we could by hand then our mechanical brokk breaker used for breaking up concrete was brought in before the larger equipment. By midweek we had removed large parts of the canopy and could see daylight. We’re hoping to start to install the concrete pile foundations in a couple of weeks’ time and that tends to be an important stage in a major build as people can really see the construction start to take shape.”
Russell Caldicott, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Lead Director for the ICCU scheme, said: “A lot of work has actually been going on prior to this demolition – the construction site had to be set up, the “soft” demolition of the interior of West Wing has been completed and all the engineering services have been decommissioned.
“It can be difficult to appreciate how much progress is actually being made but now people can see for themselves that the development is starting to take shape with the canopy demolition part of this major project due to be completed over the next few days. This is a long-awaited, prime development for the Trust that will bring significant improvements for our sickest patients and their families. Our HDU and ITU staff are also looking forward to moving out of extremely challenging critical care environments and into this state-of-the-art centre.”
The new ICCU will allow the Trust to treat many patients in individual rooms, preventing cross infection and ensuring their dignity and privacy. The standardisation of equipment at every bed space will mean any bed can be used for either an HDU or ITU patient, preventing them having to be moved. Each bed will have a ceiling-mounted pendant that supplies a comprehensive range of essential services including essential gases, power for equipment and IT links.
The new ICCU will also help the Trust attract specialist staff who want the opportunity to work in the new unit.
The Trust is also making the approach to its Emergency Department as safe as possible for patients, their families and carers while prioritising the health and wellbeing of patients who arrive by ambulance and need to access the department as quickly and easily as possible.
The current mini roundabout in that area causes some issues, particularly for ambulances, and pedestrians’ safety is also a concern – particularly at busy times.
In order to tackle the concerns raised, the Trust will be removing the roundabout and suspending disabled parking outside Imaging A in order to allow ambulances to use that space. There will still be a drop-off point for Imaging A, the MRI scanner and ED, and there is adequate disabled parking provision very close by for those who need a longer stay.
It is hoped that this will make the area safer for all and ensure the most vulnerable patients get to ED promptly.
This work will start on Monday 10 July and is due to be completed by Friday 14 July.