Royal Liverpool Hospital
HOSPITAL leaders last night unveiled the blueprint for the future of Liverpool’s biggest hospital.
The Royal Liverpool University Hospital is set to be completely rebuilt by 2014 to provide a new building on a key gateway into the city.
Preparatory works will start within a year and hospital managers last night revealed many new details of the £400m-£500m project, including:
Special measures like silver or copper door handles will be installed to help combat super bugs;
Every hospital bedroom will have access to natural light;
Almost 300 fewer beds in the new hospital;
An outline planning application to be submitted in the autumn.
Initial talks with the Government over private finance initiative (PFI) funding have gone well.
Last night, Talib Yaseen, chief executive of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, said: “Natural light, easier access and open areas will make the new hospital feel very different. Our patients will find their stay a more pleasant experience because they will feel more relaxed and comfortable in their surroundings.”
In the next 12 months the hospital will start clearing the site which houses the disused blood transfusion centre, a residential tower block and car parks.
Hospital managers are currently in talks with the council about finding alternative car parking sites and exploring the possibility of building a new multi-storey for staff.
A nursery where staff members’ children are cared for will also be relocated to a new site.
Helen Jackson, project director, said: “We were thinking of a building that is six or seven storeys, but the council are keen to see something that is eight or nine so that it will be really good, something impressive.”
It was hoped it would be an energy efficient building and that the number of single bedrooms would be “much higher” than the current 144.
“The environment will be much more pleasant and every bedroom area will have access to natural light.”
The hospital will have about 665 beds, about 280 fewer than at present.
Mr Yaseen and Ms Jackson stressed that patients should not get too concerned over the number of beds because improved health care and better facilities in the community meant not as many beds were needed.
“You might spend slightly more time in theatre but less time in bed,” added Mr Yaseen.
The hospital will provide a combination of emergency care and elective surgery. It will continue to specialise in cancer treatment.
Managers will submit an outline plan to Liverpool City Council in the autumn, with the business case being put to the Department for Health in summer 2008.
If approved, the private sector will be invited to bid for the scheme next autumn with work starting on site in 2010.
Ms Jackson said: “Under PFI, we have to put a business case together that the Department of Health will approve before we can advertise for private sector interest.
“It will cover the clinical model as well as the proposed design for the scheme. We are working with clinicians at the moment on the model.”
She said the building design would ensure departments that needed to be close to each other would be, like labs being near theatres.
The “flexible” design of the building would mean spaces could be converted at later dates to keep up with advances in technology and science could be accommodated in the building.
“What we want to make sure is that the building is not obsolete in a few years.
“This is a particularly inflexible building.”
Mr Yaseen said that X-ray films were not used anymore as the hospital had a digital archive.
Advances like this and in clinical care mean that a smaller hospital with fewer beds is required.
Liverpool Primary Care Trust’s plans unveiled last week for a £100m shake-up of care in communities also meant a smaller hospital was needed, said Mr Yaseen.
Ms Jackson said the hospital was looking at methods of “designing out” super-bugs like MRSA.
“Operationally at the moment, there’s a huge emphasis on cleanliness, that will continue in the new building,” she said
The specification would include copper or silver door handles to help reduce the transmission of MRSA.
The plans were “informally reviewed” by Department of Health officials in January and given approval.
A formal review will take place in January or February next year.
Mr Yaseen said it was hoped the new building would be iconic on a key gateway to the city at the junction of the proposed Hall Lane relief road and West Derby Street.
He added: “The new hospital will look very different from the current Royal and it will feel different too.
“Our plans for a hospital of the future bring together clinical and environmental features to ensure that we create a hospital where we can provide the very best care and treatment in the very best environment for our patients.”
Cancer vision for existing hospital site - click here