Delivered to the highest standards at a cost of £700,000, the new Intensive Care and Post Anaesthetic Care Units at Belfast City Hospital have provided much-needed, modern facilities for both staff and patients.
As no upgrading works had been carried out at the intensive care unit in the iconic Tower Block since it was built nearly 40 years ago, a full refurbishment was required. This involved a complete rewiring, new nursing stations, new flooring, ceilings and partitions, fire doors and isolation wards.
Such a large, complex job required skilful logistical management from the contractor, based on years of experience in acute settings. Mark Murphy was the contracts manager on the project for Flynn, a company that has been lead contractors in acute hospital settings for 30 years.
“We started on site on March 7 and we completed the project to the client’s satisfaction on September 24. The deadline ended up changing a couple of times to allow for client specification amendments. Programme dates were agreed at every stage and were met in full cooperation with the client team. To make sure we met these deadlines, our specialist supply chain was tightly coordinated to ensure timely completion to a very high standard.”
Optimum standards of hygiene in the new facility have been reached, thanks to standalone bedhead pendant units which remove the need to have unnecessary cables or trunking running behind beds. “These units, which stand about 700mm off the wall, contain everything the patient requires – power, lighting, medical gases, dialysis points etc. The fact that they’re positioned away from the wall means staff can clean behind them so, from a cleanliness point of view, they’re very practical. These units were bespoke and took a little bit of time to obtain, but were well worth the effort.”
Patient recovery is also at the heart of the new unit. Isolation rooms are glass pods to reduce the patient’s sense of isolation and to maintain staff surveillance.
“The new lighting system, which runs 24 hours a day, reflects daylight hours outside. Research has shown that recovery slows when people are in an environment with little or no natural light. By mirroring the light outside, patients’ recovery process is aided.”
Interlinking theatres remained operational throughout the build, requiring Mark and his team to ensure measures were put in place to mitigate noise and contain dust.
“Doorways were closed up and we worked out-of-hours when we were upgrading the fire dampeners and working on the new ventilation units. We also put up insulated panels to try and deflect the noise.”
An excellent relationship with staff meant Mark and his team were accommodated when possible.
“There were times when we knew it would be too noisy, so we had to leave that work to out of hours. We have a long term contract with the hospital, so I know the staff and their routines pretty well. They usually have an emergency theatre running 24 hours a day which is right beside where we were working. When I knew there would be noise, I would speak to the staff and they would make use of another theatre further down the corridor to keep any disturbance to patients to a minimum.”
About 80% of all waste generated on site was recycled or reused, while the highest standards of health & safety and particularly infection control were maintained, with no incidents recorded.
Delivering the project to the client’s specification while working in a live, sensitive environment was demanding.
“I think the biggest challenge from our point of view though was making sure all the teams involved were linked and working together. There was a huge amount of planning involved in getting the job done on time. We’re very happy with the end result and more importantly, so is the client.”
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