Foundations in place for £80m hospital extension
THE final foundations have been laid for the redevelopment of the new ward block at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
A ceremony was held at the site of the extension to the city centre hospital yesterday to mark the significant point in the £80 million project with the unveiling of a plaque.
The ward block behind the Upper Maudlin Street hospital will make way for patient care to finally move out of the Bristol Royal Infirmary Old Building, which was built 277 years ago.
It will make room for an integrated assessment unit, short-stay unit, intensive care unit, operating theatres and a helipad on the roof of the BRI.
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It will also link up with the extension to Bristol Children's Hospital to make way for the specialist paediatric services that will move over from Frenchay Hospital in 2014.
Now that the foundations have been completed, the building will start to take shape. The shell of the building is due to be completed by early next year.
John Savage, chairman of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the BRI, unveiled the plaque at the site.
He said: "We are delighted to have reached this important milestone in the redevelopment of the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
"The transformation of our buildings will enable our trust to offer facilities to match the highest standards of clinical care provided to the people of Bristol and beyond."
Scott Palmer, business unit leader at Laing O'Rourke Wales & West, which is carrying out the construction, said: "Laing O'Rourke and our professional team have worked tirelessly to reach this significant point in the construction programme for the redevelopment of Bristol Royal Infirmary.
"We will continue to work in partnership with the Trust to ensure that this exemplar facility is delivered for the benefit of all."
Andy Headdon, strategic development programme director at the hospital trust said the highest risk point of the project has now passed, with work digging into the hillside now over.
He said: "It is a high-risk area because you don't know what you are getting into or whether the ground conditions are ideal.
"All the ground works are complete.
"We will now continue to construct the shell of the building."
The redevelopment is being supported by the city centre hospitals charity Above and Beyond.