Critical care and stroke patients moved to NHS's newest hospital building in Brighton

  • ITV News Meridian's Charlotte Wilkins reports

Moving from the oldest building in the NHS to the newest, the Royal Sussex County Hospital's Louisa Martindale building is now fully operational.

Patients are already feeling the benefits of the light and airy surroundings and stunning sea views, which rival even the best hotels in the city.

James Yassin, Clinical Director of critical care said: "One of our intensive care units was underground, and so those patients didn’t see daylight for weeks, the corridors were very small, and felt very compact.

"So when patients woke up after their critical illness, they didn’t know if it was day or night - very difficult for them.

"So to come here it’s bright and airy, they can see the sun come up, they can see the moon come up and see the sea, they can get their diurnal rhythm back, it’s really brilliant.

"It’s incredible."

Mike Woods has spent over 70 days in Critical Care

Matt Woods suffered a spinal injury after a cycling accident and has spent more than 70 days in critical care, much of it in the old Barry Building.   

He said: "It was just unbelievably different, I was just in a room with four flat walls, and when they brought me up here, I saw the view it was just unbelievable - instant healing powers I think."

The 3Ts redevelopment at the Royal Sussex County Hospital will replace all the buildings on the front half of the hospital, including the Barry Building which, at 195 years old, is the oldest acute NHS ward building in England.

In their place will be two new clinical facilities and a much-needed service yard. 3Ts stand for Trauma, Teaching and Tertiary care.

The Barry Building will be demolished to make way for a new Sussex Cancer Centre Credit: ITV News Meridian

The Louisa Martindale Building is the first stage of the redevelopment.

It will accommodate a mixture of inpatient, outpatient and specialist services across its 11 floors.

More than 100,000 patients a year will be treated in this new state-of-the-art building. It will be the main entrance for the hospital, replacing the Barry Building in that role.

It took nine months of meticulous planning to ensure the move of the patients went smoothly.

Lucy Pitt, Matron of critical care said: "Moving the sickest patients in the hospital is really, really stressful, but we had a really robust plan, we didn’t move anyone who was too poorly.

"We did it over two days to make sure everything was working properly, but ultimately everyone is happy to be in a tidier, cleaner environment.“

The £500m re-development has been 15 years in the making. As well as Critical Care, there is a new stroke centre with top-class rehabilitation facilities.

Mike Blomfield suffered a stroke and spent much of his stay in the Barry Building.

Mike Blomfield was admitted after he suffered a stroke. He spent much of his hospital stay in the Barry Building. It was sweltering, with no air conditioning.

There was no hot water, and the toilet had to be shared by more than 20 patients.

Mike said: "All hospitals should be like this now, I know it costs a lot of money but old hospitals have had their day."

Across the wards, 65% of beds are now in single en-suite rooms with the rest in four-bed bays, giving patients more privacy and dignity.

Zingy Thetho has been part of the team ensuring the building delivers for patients and staff.

Zingy Thetho, is a nurse who has been working as a change consultant for the project, over the last four years.

Every intricate detail of the build has been carefully thought out. From the outdoor therapy gardens to help in the rehabilitation of stroke patients to dedicated areas where staff can take a much-needed rest.

Zingy said: "There are big changing rooms, and there are safe spaces for staff to lock away their things.

"They can have a shower in our changing rooms. There's a staff room in each department - somewhere else to go during your shift.

"The worst thing is doing a 12-hour shift and not having a dedicated place to go."

Around 1,00,000 patients a year are expected to be treated at the Louise Martindale Building , and with the next phase of work on the horizon, the hospital is being future-proofed for the next 75 years and beyond.

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