P21P Feb 13 NEWS MansellDevCorn pic 1 _P8B9849

To maximise capacity, reduce waiting times and incorporate latest surgical advances, two southern Trusts have worked with Principal Supply Chain Partner (PSCP) Balfour Beatty using the ProCure21+ framework to refurbish their operating theatres.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust each had tight programmes in place (of £2.25m and £1.8m respectively). As work on both sites took place with a full surgical workload continuing in close proximity to the construction areas, both Trusts worked closely with the PSCP to implement careful site planning measures including infection control, sealed work areas and strict control of vibration/noise. Balfour Beatty pre-construction manager Nigel McArthur commented that “teams have spent time out-of-hours donning  full sterile theatre clothing to aid in-depth site investigation – a valuable investment, since it has reduced both cost and risk later in the projects.”

Both projects were challenging in terms of access: Royal Cornwall’s programme (delivering five fully-integrated laparoscopic theatres) required specialist scaffolding to be erected on the third floor of a tower block. Plymouth Hospital’s equivalent, the Royal Eye Infirmary, is on the seventh floor, with all access gained externally via a hoist and staircase from the fourth floor; live clinical areas were adjacent and directly below. At both sites, to prevent noise and vibration intruding on adjacent operating theatres, work took place over a rolling 24-hour period. “The PSCP was so discreet that many staff could not believe the theatres were actually being installed,” said Dominic Byrne, consultant gynaecologist at Royal Cornwall: “they were stunned when the barriers came down and they could see the amazing transformation.”

Removal of waste at Plymouth’s Royal Eye Infirmary presented particular difficulties: the old fixtures and fittings, and specifically the air-handling units, had to be “cut up into small pieces, trolleyed over the roof, and down a hoist into the Emergency Department courtyard on Level 6,” said ProCure21+ project manager at Plymouth, Syd Jamieson. “Co-ordination with the ED was critical, for obvious reasons.”

Garth Weaver, associate director planning and projects at Royal Cornwall, said that ProCure21+ had enabled the Trust to deliver “a highly complex 15-month programme of work with a contracting partner that has developed a good understanding of the risks and issues associated with working adjacent to live clinical areas.”