The existing entrance, which has largely stayed the same since the hospital opened in 1985, will change significantly.
At ground floor, the 2,200 sq. m. two-storey development comprises a modern, spacious new entrance transforming visitor and patient experiences. This includes a substantial retail hub, home to retail outlets including Costa Coffee, WHSmith and M&S Simply Food, as well as a waiting area and consultation rooms. The entrance also features a 400 sq. m. Critical Care Unit extension to the Emergency Department.
A dedicated administration suite has been created on the first floor, providing a single location for 250 personnel, who are currently housed in temporary accommodation across the campus.
The fully-funded development by noviniti Ltd for the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust (ESNEFT), employs innovative modular building solutions. This ensures that work is delivered in less than half the time of a traditional build and with minimum disruption, benefitting the local community and hospital users.
Seddon, as appointed principal contractor together with Yorkshire-based NHS modular build specialists, Catfoss, are delivering the building works on behalf of noviniti Ltd and ESNEFT.
The contracting duo have begun a 34-week programme of work, with completion expected in November 2019.
Substantial enabling works creating new ambulance bays, taxi and patient set-down areas and bus stops are also underway, ultimately increasing accessibility to the hospital.
Nick Chatten, acting director of estates and facilities at ESNEFT, said the hospital’s existing spaces are in need of an overhaul: “The patient drop-off area is narrow and congested with pedestrians having to share space with vehicles, including day ambulances, buses and taxis. The existing reception foyer is particularly cramped, with there being no suitable waiting area, especially for the elderly and infirm.
“Elsewhere in the hospital, the staff and visitor restaurant, while having a sufficient product range and seating space, is located remotely on the first floor and is too far from the main outpatient areas to be easily accessible to those waiting for appointments. The overall scheme will herald the transformation projects planned for the future of ESNEFT.”
Ed Wootton, regional director of construction at Seddon, said: “It’s fantastic to have started work on Colchester Hospital. We aim to deliver this project as quickly and efficiently as possible, with minimum disruption to the everyday operation of the A&E department. Upon completion, we’re confident that the development will provide a better service for the local community, offering easier access to essential healthcare facilities with an enticing retail offer for staff, patients and visitors.”