Bristol's new super hospital combines technology with dose of common sense
IT is little more than a year before Bristol's new modern super hospital opens its doors to the first patients.
While it is about 15 months before people will be treated at the new Southmead Hospital, The Post can now reveal how the inside of the hospital will look.
Detailed plans of where the different departments will be within the hospital have been put together by North Bristol NHS Trust to prepare for staff to move into the building.
As well as bringing services from Frenchay and Southmead hospitals together under one roof, the hospital will bring new technology to improve efficiency and patient care.
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There will be a central decontamination area where all instruments will be sterilised along with a dedicated bed and equipment wash area.
Robots – called automated guided vehicles – will be used to transport waste and laundry along the service corridors away from patients. They are believed to be the first in a hospital in England and have now been tested in the corridors.
And samples and medication will be sent around the hospital quickly using a "tube" system, which will link all areas to pathology and the pharmacy so drugs can be delivered and samples sent automatically.
The ground floor of the hospital will provide access to emergency patients brought in by ambulance, resuscitation facilities and a minor injuries unit along with scanners. There will be wards for inpatients. The rest of the ground floor is taken up by servicing areas such as linen and store rooms, caterers, the pharmacy and sterilisation areas. The main entrance and public areas are on level one, with shops and cafes and a range of outpatient clinic areas with therapies such as dialysis and chemotherapy, diagnostic tests including ultrasound and MRI scanning and more inpatient wards where patients will stay in single rooms.
On level two operating theatres and the recovery room are located alongside the intensive care unit and scanners as well as more wards for patients who need to stay in hospital. There are more operating theatres on level three along with offices and more wards, along with further wards on floors four and five.
Ruth Hughes, clinical design lead for the new hospital has been working on the project for six years but it has now moved into the more detailed phase of where departments will be based and where the rooms should be. She said 43 staff user groups and patient groups had been involved in helping to plan the new hospital.
"The floor plans show the adjacencies, for example the emergency department and the inpatient next to it and acute assessment right next to each other. We cannot deliver that at Frenchay and that is a big advantage," Mrs Hughes said.
"It is a rare treat to be able to plan a hospital from the beginning and make it fit the way we want patient care to be delivered rather than where there is space on the site.
"We are really pleased that the vast majority of our clinical services will be under one roof – patients having to head outside under an umbrella to X-ray won't be happening again."
Mrs Hughes said the mobility of patients had been considered in planning the location of departments, along with clinics that work well together.
"For outpatients access to diagnostics will be straightforward, respiratory diagnostics is right at the front door because those patients cannot travel very far," she said.
"It is right next to cardiac testing as often patients present and have symptoms that need experts from both specialities. We were able to put trauma and orthopaedic clinics right next to the X-ray rooms with a shared waiting room between them."
And now work has moved into the final phases she said it has been exciting for the team to see.
She said: "I think it is going to be a fantastic new hospital and it will be such an improvement on the conditions we are asking staff to work in. We've seen it grow from bits of paper and it seems to be coming together very quickly and coming alive."