New Royal Liverpool University Hospital welcomes first patients after opening hit by delays

Video report by ITV Granada Reports correspondent Andy Bonner

The new Royal Liverpool University Hospital has welcomed its first patients - more than five years after it was supposed to open.

More than 360 patients are expected through the doors and outpatient clinics will continue to operate throughout the week at the new hospital

Construction on the new hospital initially started in 2014, but it was hit by a series of delays following the collapse of original contractor Carillion.

Drone footage showing the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital

James Sumner, Chief Executive at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The new Royal is for the people of Liverpool and the city region and we are so proud that we can start to give our patients, staff and local communities the long-awaited hospital they deserve."

Patients are being welcomed to the new site from today (4 October). Credit: ITV News

In order to allow patients time to familiarise themselves with their new hospital, outpatients will operate at a reduced capacity that will increase in stages over the next four weeks, with appointments being allocated according to clinical priority.

Patients being welcomed this week will be the first to use the new digital check-in, which has been designed to speed up the appointment process.

People are being asked to continue using the A&E department at the old Royal until later this month. Credit: PA

The hospital is undertaking a phased 24-day move from the current Royal, which started on Wednesday 28 September, and the first inpatients will be transferred to the hospital on Monday 10 October.

People are being asked to continue using the A&E department at the old Royal until later in October when the service transfers to the new building.

The new hospital will have:

Georgia Lyons, from Wallasey, is the first patient in Radiology having a scan in one of the new MRI machines.

Georgia said: "Obviously it's going to be a good experience, and friendly, welcoming and very hygienic, nice and bright."

Georgia Lyons is the first patient in Radiology Credit: ITV News

She added: "It makes you feel a lot more relaxed and it takes your mind off of the appointment a lot because obviously the small amount of fish got a little bit nervous, very anxious, the unknown.

"To be welcomed by friendly faces, staff with a smile on the face, wanting to have an interest in general conversation with you, just really put my mind at ease this morning."

A large clinical research facility will place Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as a national and international leader in clinical trials and studies.

Construction teams will remain on site at the Royal into 2023 to complete internal and external works.

New patients will be able to use self check-in screens to speed up appointments. Credit: ITV News

In addition, the final two of three link bridges will be installed to link the new hospital with Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, allowing access to specialist treatment for patients at both sites. The first link bridge was installed in June.

Health Minister Nick Markham said: "Not only will this hospital improve care for patients across the city, staff will also be able to access specialist medical equipment and a world-leading research facility.

"We are committed to improving health infrastructure across the country and this is part of the biggest hospital building programme in a generation, which we will deliver by 2030."

The hospital has been hit with years of delays, and a report into the completion, following the collapse of Carillion, said work was five years behind schedule and well over budget.

The 646-bed hospital is now predicted to cost over £1 billion to build and run, compared with the original £746 million, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

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