A new £5.6m Neonatal Unit at Walsall Manor Hospital will be up and running in just a few weeks’ time now that a major construction project has drawn to a close.
As part of the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust investment the unit houses a purpose-built Intensive Therapy Unit and High Dependency Unit and a new obstetric theatre has also been created.
Skanska has worked with the trust on the construction and has now officially “handed over” the unit. Final decoration work and staff training is now underway and it should be open, on schedule, in November.
Caroline Whyte, Walsall Healthcare’s Divisional Director of Nursing – Children, Young People and Neonates, said: “Our staff can’t wait to start working in this beautiful new, airy environment which is such an improvement on the existing unit.
“We’ve increased our provision to 20 cots – taking our HDU cots from two to four and our special care cots from 11 to 14 – and the extra space we have is fantastic.
“The construction has been a challenge in as much as parts of this expansion have had to be live and running alongside the existing unit. Staff have been so accommodating – ensuring safe, high quality care has not been compromised while juggling the demands necessary for a major expansion project – and I’d like to thank them for their patience and co-operation, in particular Senior Nurse/Ward Manager Lisa Poston.
“They are all, understandably, keen to use this brand new facility which will also make a real difference to our babies and their families.”
Neonatal Unit Senior Nurse/Ward Manager Lisa Poston added: “As well as the much-needed investment in neonatal care that this represents there are also some lovely features in the new unit.
“We’ve got a special bell that can be rung when babies are ready to go home and in some windowless areas we’ve got some stunningly colourful light panels. It’s a unit to be proud of and we can’t wait to see it up and running.”
Skanska Project Manager John Cottrell added: “We endeavour to complete any major construction project with minimal disruption, particularly in an environment such as a busy hospital, this project was particularly challenging due to the construction activities being in close proximity to the existing unit.
“While this could have been fraught with difficulties, excellent communication on both sides ensured this ran extremely smoothly and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to hand over the new unit this autumn as planned.”