Piper welcomes guests to ‘topping out’ at Bournemouth’s BEACH Building

The Royal Bournemouth Hospital marked a major milestone on 19 May with a traditional ‘topping out’ for its new BEACH Building – a 23,000 m2 clinical complex standing six storeys tall – equivalent in size to 115 tennis courts.

It contains a new maternity unit and children’s unit, and an enhanced Emergency Department, larger than the existing facilities at the Royal Bournemouth and Poole Hospital combined, plus a 30-bedded critical care unit. When it opens in Spring 2025, it will enable the Royal Bournemouth Hospital to become Dorset’s major emergency hospital. Lord Markham, Under Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care, and Jacqueline Smith, Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset, attended the topping out alongside University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust (UHD) staff including Chief Executive, Siobhan Harrington, and Dr Isabel Smith, UHD’s Medical director for transformation. The event was hosted by Integrated Health Projects (IHP), an alliance between VINCI Building UK and Sir Robert McAlpine, represented by executive partner and IHP board member, Hector McAlpine.

Guests were led to the top of the building by a bagpiper, where a symbolic tightening of bolts took place, and an evergreen bough was nailed to the structure. This was followed by an exchange of tankards to symbolise a job well done.

Lord Markham said: “This building will improve birth, emergency, and critical care services, and children’s health services, making a significant difference in helping cut waiting times for patients in Dorset by serving nearly 145,000 patients a year. We continue to work closely with the NHS to improve services, and this new building is part of over 70 hospital upgrades we’re delivering across the country, on top of 40 new hospitals.”

John Roberts, MD at IHP and VINCI Building, said: “IHP is proud to be part of today, and achieving this major milestone in the construction of the new facility here at Bournemouth Hospital. The project represents significant investment in the UHBP site to provide a brand-new A&E department. This scheme will serve local people in the city, Poole, and the wider Dorset community, providing improved patient journeys and outcomes for years to come.”

The construction work has been designed to minimise disruption to the Royal Bournemouth site for the project’s duration. The project is part of a wider £250 m investment to ‘transform’ UHD’s hospitals.

Siobhan Harrington, UHD’s CEO, said: “The BEACH Building will help create a hospital specialising in emergency care at the Royal Bournemouth, while at Poole we are putting the finishing touches to our new operating theatres complex – creating the major planned hospital for Dorset.  As we plan for the future services, we remain focused on the present, and the responsibility to continue to deliver high-class care for all our patients.” 



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