Three-storey, 120-bed acute admissions unit built using off-site construction to provide rapid treatment for emergency cases

Requirement:

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust carried out a £34m reorganisation and modernisation of acute services in the area. A new model of care was employed to improve the patient experience with rapid, consultant-led diagnosis for emergency cases and treatment closer to home. As part of the reorganisation, a new Acute Admissions Unit (AAU) was needed at Watford General Hospital.

Solution:

The new Acute Admissions Unit, which was the largest in the country, was constructed off site by the Portakabin Group in a £12m contract.

The building was constructed from 150 steel-framed modules, which were manufactured in a controlled factory environment for complete quality assurance. They were delivered to site complete with partitions, electrics, plumbing, sanitaryware and finishes already in place.

“We are delighted with the new facility. This is the largest of a new generation of acute admissions units and forms part of the Department of Health’s new ‘Model of Care’ initiative… Patients have been really enthusiastic about the environment and the service they are receiving.”
Graham Ramsay, Medical Director, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Designed by Murphy Philipps Architects, the three-storey building provides 120 beds for emergency admissions, two cardiac catheterisation laboratories, diagnostics including x-ray, ultrasound and CT scanner, pharmacy manufacture and robotics, a library and a rooftop plant room.

The new building is linked to the existing hospital, and was finished in wedgewood blue with contrasting white render and aluminium cladding for a contemporary appearance.

The building was very well received. Lesley Harrison, Senior Sister in the AAU, says: “Patients and staff are very pleased with the new building. The unit is light and airy – a pleasant environment that is much easier to keep clean. There is lots of space around patient beds which is hugely beneficial when clinical staff are carrying out interventions. Patients love the bright colours and have even compared it to a hotel!”

Building Location

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