Confirmation came that contracts had been exchanged late on Friday to mark the very final stage in securing the new state of the art £45 million community hospital to be built at Hengrove Park in Bristol.
The signing of contracts follows an intensive period in which final legal and financial details were finalised after approval was given by the Department of Health last November. Building work is expected to start within a few weeks and the new hospital should be ready open its doors in spring of 2012.
NHS Bristol chief executive, Deborah Evans said: "I am delighted to be able to make the announcement which confirms that contracts for the South Bristol Community Hospital have been signed - there's no going back from here. It's exciting to think that the construction work will begin in a few short weeks and local people will finally see real proof of progress. Its been a long journey to get to this point but the support of local people in south Bristol has been our inspiration throughout."
The new hospital will provide people in south Bristol with local access to a range of services including: diagnostic tests; walk-in urgent care centre for minor illness and injury; booked appointments with hospital consultants and other specialists; an '8am to 8pm' GP service; a day surgical treatment centre and an integrated community rehabilitation service with inpatient beds.
Ben Bennett, Associate Director for NHS Bristol who has led the project since 2003 said: "Everyone in the project team is thrilled, its been a long process but what has felt like a marathon at times ended as a sprint to the line as we worked intensively in the last few days to get the final commercial details in place before the deadline. This has been a partnership from start to finish, no more so than in the final days when all of our partners and friends worked with us to get the contract over the line. I am extremely grateful for all of the support and help we have in getting the project to this point. Now we can finally get on and build the hospital!"
The £45 million hospital will be developed by Bristol Infracare LIFT, a public-private partnership established by NHS Bristol in 2004. The LIFT company, which has already provided four new health centres across Bristol, has assembled an experienced design and construction team led by Carillion and local architects AWW.
Sue Field, Managing Director of Bristol Community Health, which will run and manage services at the new hospital said: "We are really looking forward to running modern and innovative services including Bristol's first urgent care centre and working in partnership with a range of different organisations and local people. Staff at the new urgent care centre will be able to manage a variety of conditions that adults and children would otherwise have to go to hospital emergency departments to be diagnosed and treated. Some of these services are already available at the Walk-in Centre at Knowle West Health Park, but when the service moves to the new hospital, staff will be able to manage more patients with complex needs.
Mark Nebel, chief executive of Bristol Infracare LIFT said: "It's fantastic news that we are now in a position to start work on building the hospital after all the hard work that has gone into designing and approving the scheme. We look forward to providing a well designed, modern hospital building for south Bristol and seeing it opened to patients in 2012."
David Perkin, Director of AWW Architects for the project said: "We're thrilled that this final hurdle has been overcome and that we can now get the project onto site. This building will use 30% less energy than the NHS best practice benchmark and represents a genuinely sustainable development for the community of South Bristol".
A public consultation on the proposals was undertaken in 2004 and, throughout this process, local people signalled their strong support for a new facility to provide local health services which will replace the facilities at the 19th Century Bristol General Hospital.
The development of a new community hospital in south Bristol is part of a wider strategy to improve health services nearer to home for people across Bristol and in neighbouring areas which includes the development of easy to access Walk-In urgent care centres, five new dental surgeries throughout the city, new GP surgeries in Broadmead and more.
For further details please contact - Bristol Infracare LIFT