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Lancashire ‘surge hub’ created in just three weeks

A three-week timescale to create, construct, and fully fit out a surge hub in a hospital car park is a pretty daunting prospect. Five senior team members involved in such a project at a Lancashire acute Trust explain how this was achieved at the Royal Preston Hospital.

Even experienced estates and facilities professionals would have found a three-week timescale to create, construct, and fully fit out a surge hub in a hospital car park a pretty daunting prospect. However, as HEJ’s editor, Jonathan Baillie, discovered from five senior team members involved in just such a project at a Lancashire acute Trust earlier this year, a resolve and determination to meet this extremely tight deadline, and excellent collaboration from all involved, saw the facility operational and ready to admit patients right on cue.

Last December, as a rise in cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continued to put pressure on hospitals UK-wide, NHSE/I announced that eight NHS Nightingale surge hubs would be built at major hospitals throughout England – the Royal Preston Hospital, the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, St James’s Hospital in Leeds, St George’s Hospital in Tooting, Solihull Hospital, the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent, Leicester Royal Infirmary, and Southmead Hospital in Bristol. NHS England said the new ‘surge hubs’ would be used ‘if the record number of COVID infections leads to a surge in admissions and outstrips existing capacity’. Like many large acute hospital Trusts, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust faced considerable additional pressures at its hospitals as case numbers increased. The Trust serves 370,000 people across the Chorley, South Ribble, and Preston areas, and provides several specialist services to around 1.8 million people from Lancashire and South Cumbria. Its two main acute hospitals are the Royal Preston Hospital in Preston, and the Chorley and South Ribble Hospital in Chorley

To find out more about the surge hub built at the Royal Preston Hospital – which remarkably, was delivered and ready to admit patients in just three weeks from the instruction to mobilise, and can accommodate up to 53 beds – I spoke recently via ‘Teams’ to deputy director of Estates & Facilities at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cliff Howell, who led and coordinated the multidisciplinary team that masterminded it. Also joining the discussion were Shaun Ashworth, a senior project manager at the Trust, project manager, Lucy Roberts, Capital Commissioning manager, Karen Thompson, and external consultant, Louise Testa, who acted as the Trust’s Programme manager, and has fulfilled a similar role for the organisation on previous major capital schemes. 

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Access the latest issue of Health Estate Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

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