Work begins this week on the £60m transformation of Hull Royal Infirmary.
A new, three-storey entrance, an assessment unit, modern pharmacy, restaurant, shops, improved facilities for parents of sick children and a multi-faith area will be part of the major construction programme lasting two years.
Subject to both planning approval and business case approval, construction work is expected to transform the front of the tower block, a landmark building in Hull City Centre which has remained largely unchanged for more than 50 years.
Duncan Taylor, Director of Estates, Facilities and Development at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The aim is for us to have better use of more flexible space to deliver our services.
“Staff, visitors and patients will benefit from a fantastic facility at the front of the building with shops, a new restaurant and waiting facilities and overnight facilities for parents of children in our paediatric department.”
Wards 36, 37 and 38 have been created behind the ambulance bay for the Emergency Department with 52 additional beds in response to the pandemic.
Ward 36 opened this weekend as a 12-bed assessment facility which will be used to isolate and treat patients with confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19, other infectious diseases and seasonal illnesses more common during winter, including flu.
The Acute Medical Unit and the Ambulatory Care Unit including the Surgical Ambulatory Care Unit have already moved temporarily to Wards 37 and 38, allowing construction work to begin on a combined unit for patients who require further assessment before admission onto a ward or discharge home.
Work on the new, much larger and self-contained assessment unit is expected to take around three months, providing better facilities for patients with views over the front gardens and natural light.
Pharmacy will move to the back of the ground floor, with a new robotic arm installed to pick prescriptions.
The “Yellow Brick Road” weaving through the gardens from Argyle Street to the main entrance will be closed off with eight-foot timber fences to protect people from the construction work over the next few weeks ahead of work on the new front entrance beginning in earnest in October.
Mr Taylor said: “There may be some inevitable disruption to allow us to carry out this major transformation but these facilities are long-awaited on this site.”
[Allison Coggan – Hull University Teaching Hospitals Trust]