‘Topping out’ ceremony marks progress of The New QEII Hospital

‘Topping out’ ceremony marks progress of The New QEII Hospital

A traditional ‘topping out’ ceremony took place at Welwyn Garden City’s New QEII Hospital on Friday (June 13), celebrating the progress of the new building.

The £30m New QEII Hospital will be a modern, welcoming and sustainable place for local people to access the hospital services that they use most often. Building work is going well, with the hospital on schedule to open in spring 2015.  Local GPs, a hospital consultant, hospital volunteers and politicians had an exclusive preview of the new building’s entrance foyer, bright and airy central courtyard and environmentally-friendly design features before a short ‘topping out’ ceremony took place to mark the completion of the top floor of the new building.     

Dr Hari Pathmanathan is a GP Board Member of East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, the local GP-led NHS organisation that has planned the new hospital and the health care it will provide.  He said: “The opportunity to design a hospital building and its services around the needs of our patients, now and in years to come, is a huge privilege.  The building itself will be really impressive, but more importantly, the services it provides will improve the quality of patient care for my patients and many thousands of others every year.”

Cllr Fiona Thomson, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council's Health Champion, toured the new hospital.  She said: "I trained as a midwife at the QEII and my children were born there, so like lots of residents, I've got really strong links to the hospital. The new hospital won't have the inpatient services the old one had, and regrettably that decision can't be reversed, however I think that people will be surprised and pleased at the range of services in this new building.  It's really positive that local GPs are so involved in securing the best services for our residents."

The New QEII Hospital will have:

* an Urgent Care Centre, open 24 hours a day, which will treat adults and children with a wide range of minor illnesses and injuries, in line with new government recommendations
* general outpatients appointments – including the vast majority of those that happen now
* diagnostics (MRI, CT scans and X-rays)
* rapid assessment for patients whose health needs to be urgently assessed, but who don’t need to be admitted to hospital
* GP services
* a purpose-built area for outpatient children’s services, providing an integrated model of assessment, diagnosis, treatment and support for children with a range of medical, psychological and social needs  
* therapy services, such as physiotherapy and other rehabilitation treatments
* endoscopy and other procedures
* a breast unit
* ante-natal and post-natal care
* routine blood treatments, such as warfarin

The hospital has been designed to the highest environmental standards by award-winning architects Penoyre & Prasad, and is being built by UK construction business, Balfour Beatty. 

The New QEII Hospital is part of a wider project to transform hospital services in our area.  By October 2014, a further £150 million will have been invested in new facilities in the Lister hospital in Stevenage, making it the local specialist hospital for emergency and inpatient care for east and north Hertfordshire and south Bedfordshire.