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Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans hospitals are to undergo a £16.2m upgrade after successfully bidding for special funds from the Department of Health.
The works include a major upgrade of wards (costing £2.7m) and improvements to the outside of buildings (£1.9m), which will significantly enhance the environment for our patients, visitors and staff.
A significant amount of money will also be spent on ensuring the hospitals are meeting the latest safety standards, with hundreds of thousands of pounds being spent on a new ventilation system (£393,000), as well as the replacement of old water pipes (£301,000) and old windows (£839,000).
£3.5m is being spent on a new back-up electricity system, which supplies electricity in the event of a power cut.
In addition, there will be an upgrade to the hospitals’ electrical infrastructure (such as wiring and fuse boxes) (£967,000) and the way in which medical gases (such as oxygen) are pumped to the hospitals’ wards (£461,000). The will also be fire safety improvements, including installing new fire doors (£584,000).
Other works includes:
•Upgrading and installing new lifts (£542,000);
•Improving heat, steam and pressure systems (£572,000);
•Repairing roads and paths, including improving access for people with disabilities (£163,000);
•Refurbishing the hospitals’ operating theatres (£659,000);
•Removing asbestos from older buildings (£1 million);
•Demolishing old empty buildings (£700,000).
Samantha Jones, Chief Executive told Heart: "We are absolutely delighted to have received this funding. It is excellent news for our patients, their visitors and our staff.
Anyone who has visited our sites will know that they are in need of improvement and this investment will make a real impact. Visitors to our hospitals will soon see a difference, with new windows, new lifts, new roofs and improvements to the outside of our hospitals.
We’re also investing nearly £3m on upgrading our wards and millions of pounds will be spent in areas people can’t see, such as new wiring, heating and pipes that transfer water around our hospitals. The overall drive is to ensure our hospitals are as safe and as welcoming as they possibly can be."
The works, which were prioritised following an independent assessment of all three hospital sites, will be completed over the next year to 18 months.
Samantha added: "Each year, we spend approximately £8 million upgrading our hospital sites and buying new equipment. However, our hospitals aren’t getting any younger, so this extra investment will make a major difference.
Last year, we commissioned an independent assessment which showed we would need to spend approximately £67m on our hospital buildings over the next six years to ensure they were ‘fit for purpose’ and meet the latest safety standards.
The £16.2m from the Department of Health makes a major dent into that figure and allows us to make the most urgent improvements.
I’d like to say a big thank you to the Department of Health and our other NHS partners for their support with this bid. It clearly shows their commitment to our hospitals, our patients and our staff."
Geoff Brown, Chief Executive of consumer champion Healthwatch Hertfordshire added: "I’d like to congratulate West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust on being successful with their bid for such a large amount of money.
We know that Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans hospitals are getting old and are in need of investment. £16.2m is a massive amount of money and will make a real difference to the hospitals – both behind the scenes, such as on making safety improvements, and on the things that will directly improve the experience patients have, for instance opening new lifts."
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