Healthcare: a community matter in Liverpool
As one of the UK`s largest cities, Liverpool, has undergone a period of economic revival in recent years and is redefining itself as a vibrant world centre for the knowledge economy, in particular the life sciences. To achieve this ambitious goal, the health services must have the ability not only to provide first class care for the population’s wellbeing but also to create opportunity for hi-tech professional employment in the city. Two new hospital facilities – the Royal Liverpool and the new Alder Hey Children’s hospitals - are being built in Liverpool to bring health and wealth to the region.
The Royal Liverpool Hospital has been a centre for pioneering healthcare in the city for more than 150 years, treating more than 650,000 patients annually. As the largest hospital in Merseyside and Cheshire, the Royal already provides emergency, general and specialist treatment to patients from the north-west of England, north Wales, and the Isle of Man, as well as being a major cancer research, diagnosis and treatment centre.
But the existing hospital facilities are becoming outdated, with the crumbling and inefficient infrastructure threatening the quality of care that can be provided to the local community. Refurbishment of the original hospital would not only have been extremely costly, lengthy and disruptive, it still would not have provided patients with the environment they deserve. So the decision was made to build a brand new hospital adjacent to the existing building to radically renew and improve local healthcare.
A landmark in UK healthcare
Building work for the new Royal Liverpool Hospital started in 2014. When completed, Liverpool will host one of the largest hospitals in the UK, with 18 theatres, 23 wards, 646 single bedrooms, a large Clinical Research Facility and a 40 bed Critical Care Unit. Moreover, the hospital’s single en-suite bedrooms will not only provide patients with the highest standards of comfort, privacy and dignity, they will also help reduce infection risks drastically.
Hundreds of hospital staff were consulted during the design of the new building to ensure maximum efficiency. Gone are the days of departments that collaborate on a daily basis being situated at opposite sides of the building. Computer aided design meant that staff were able to give their invaluable input to improve the final design, ensuring their own work needs were taken into account.
The new Royal Liverpool hospital will cost some GBP 330 million, of which of the hospital trust, with assistance from the UK Department of Health, will contribute GBP 124 million. The majority of the remaining funding has come from the EIB (with a loan of GBP 90 million) and Scottish Widows Investment Fund.
The new Royal is not only an affordable investment; it is an essential one. This, the city’s largest ever development, will create 750 jobs during construction alone and is expected to contribute GBP 240 million to the local economy. Community has been at the heart of the project from the very start and workshops to encourage local contractors and businesses to get involved have served to strengthen local benefits.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the project is the plan for the existing hospital; the old Royal is not destined to become a relic. The site of the former hospital will be used to develop the Liverpool BioCampus, a world class innovation centre. Liverpool’s past will be converted into potential for future generations.
Building the best children’s hospital in Europe
And it is precisely the city’s future generations that are set to benefit from the construction of a new national children’s hospital just across the city. The Alder Hey in the Park project, to which the Bank will contribute a GBP 54.4m (c. EUR 77m) loan, seeks to make care more responsive and accessible.
The existing Alder Hey hospital has been caring for the city’s children for nearly a century, but with space becoming a pressing issue and clinics looking dated, the need for a new building was imminent. When the new facility opens in 2015, it is set to be one of Europe’s busiest children’s hospitals.
Alder Hey in the Park: A home from home
As with the Royal, community is at the heart of the project. The new Alder Hey in the Park hopes to offer a home-from-home experience to children who require care. Improved clinic areas, research facilities, operating theatres and a brand new Emergency Department will offer a happy, calming and educational environment for patients and their families. The new facility will include kitchens on each ward that can provide fresh food for patients whenever they are able and feel like eating; gone are the days of fixed mealtimes.
It is not only the patients who are set to benefit. Staff working conditions are expected to rise, with a highly skilled workforce providing higher quality standards in patient services and more complex treatments.
And it seems fitting that a hospital for young people should be designed by a young person. Based on an original sketch by 15 year old Eleanor Brogan, the Children’s Health Park has been elaborated to include 270 inpatient beds, 40 days case places, five dialysis beds, a new outpatient department and pharmacy, and a 1,000 space multi-storey car park.
All of this will strengthen Alder Hey in the Park’s strategic position as a high level referral hospital for paediatric care.