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Inside the new Royal Papworth Hospital: First patient through the door says 'it's incredibly impressive'




The first patient has been allowed through the doors of the new Royal Papworth Hospital building before it is is opened later this year and has declared it ‘fantastic’.

The first patient through the door - John Curtis was given an advanced tour of the new Royal Papworth Hospital. Picture: Keith Heppell
The first patient through the door - John Curtis was given an advanced tour of the new Royal Papworth Hospital. Picture: Keith Heppell

John Curtis, 53, suffers from a serious lung condition that requires him to stay in the specialist heart and lung hospital for sometimes weeks or months at a stretch.

He was invited for a tour by staff as he is one of Papworth’s most frequent in patients. John had been worried about leaving the familiar surroundings of the old hospital site behind, but after visiting the new Royal Papworth building on the Biomedical Campus his fears have been allayed.

John said: “The building is fantastic. When you arrive it is incredibly impressive – it looks like Terminal 5 without the queues and the luggage!

“And the bedrooms are nicer than my first house. I love the fact you have your own room and the bathrooms are en suite. When you are poorly you want your own space and it can be hard to get to sleep on an open ward if someone is snoring. Each bathroom is a wet room, which means there are no trip hazards – that is important for someone like me who does fall a lot. They have thought of everything.”

John has a condition called anti-trypsim deficiency, which causes his body to attack his lungs. He is susceptible to infection and has spent long periods in the Royal Papworth Hospital’s isolation rooms. In between these admissions he visits the hospital every week for scans or for staff to monitor his medication, so the old hospital site has become an important part of his life.

“ I love the current Papworth,” he says “and when I first heard we were moving I was really concerned because I thought it is like a family over there – everyone knows you and you know your way around the place.

“But then I realised that Papworth is not the building Papworth is the people. The people make Papworth what it is and they are coming with us. So then I stopped worrying and I’m really excited to say I am looking forward to my the next planned admission. Then I can come in and experience it properly.”

Construction of the building is complete. Between now and April, Royal Papworth staff will undertake training in the new building and the hospital will be equipped with thousands of items of medical equipment, from blood gas analysers and pacemakers to patient beds, linen and scrubs.

The UK’s leading heart and lung hospital will then move all of its services from its current site in Papworth Everard, Cambridgeshire, to the new hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus during a three-week period from April 23.

The new hospital will include five operating theatres, five catheter laboratories (for non-surgical procedures) and two hybrid theatres. There will be 310 beds for patients, including a 46-bed critical care unit, and most patients will have their own single, en-suite rooms.

Designed by clinicians with patients in mind, the new hospital building will support Royal Papworth staff to deliver excellent care to patients suffering from heart and lung disease.

Patient and visitors will also benefit from improved facilities in the new hospital, from an atrium on the ground floor with a restaurant, coffee shop and convenience store to free Wi-Fi and up to 100 free TV and radio channels in patient bedrooms.

What they said

Chief executive Stephen Posey outside the new Royal Papworth Hospital. Picture: Keith Heppell
Chief executive Stephen Posey outside the new Royal Papworth Hospital. Picture: Keith Heppell

Stephen Posey, chief executive at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is incredibly exciting to be able to walk through the hospital without hard hats and high-vis jackets and really imagine this impressive building as a fully-functioning heart and lung hospital. After many years of planning, we are now just months away from moving in and starting to realise the huge benefits that the new building and its location on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus will bring for our patients and staff.

“We have an ongoing commitment to world class care but actually with far better facilities for us to provide that care. The location is perhaps the most exciting aspect of the new hospital. We are here nestled in the heart of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus where we can work in collaboration with researchers and medical device manufacturers to deliver tomorrow’s treatments today.”

During the three-week move period in April and May, the hospital’s services will gradually close at the current site and open in the new hospital. Patients due to attend an appointment after April 23 will receive a letter to confirming where their appointment will take place.

Royal Papworth Hospital tour of the building as it starts to take life, Josie Rudman Chief Nurse. Picture: Keith Heppell. (6928664)
Royal Papworth Hospital tour of the building as it starts to take life, Josie Rudman Chief Nurse. Picture: Keith Heppell. (6928664)

Josie Rudman, chief nurse at Royal Papworth Hospital, said: “Staff actually stood around the design table with architects and told them what we needed to provide the best patient safety and working environment. So now we have almost every bed in a single bedroom, apart from where patients needs require them to be in a bay. Due to the acute nature of cardiothoracic care, nurses need to be able to see patients very easily so we have bedrooms that have frosted glass panels to give privacy but nurses walking past can see in easily. And we asked for curved corridors to allow nurse to see into more bedrooms at a time as they walk down corridors. Every part of the design has been discussed with clinicians.

“The old site was built around a former TB hospital and the building has grown with the service, but it will be great to have something specifically designed for patient needs.”

John Wallwork, chairman of the Royal Papworth NHS Trust, said: “The new hospital is absolutely wonderful – the facilities are state of the art. Some of us have been waiting decades to see it but it has been worth the wait. And the fact we will be so close to the university research centre can only benefit the work we do here and the patients we serve.”

A look at the design

Royal Papworth Hospital tour of the building as it starts to take life, Josie Rudman Chief Nurse. Picture: Keith Heppell. (6928670)
Royal Papworth Hospital tour of the building as it starts to take life, Josie Rudman Chief Nurse. Picture: Keith Heppell. (6928670)

The features of the new hospital include:

 Two dedicated lifts to take heart attack patients from the ambulance bay directly to the hospital’s cath labs (where non-surgical procedures take place) in an emergency

 A link corridor to Addenbrooke’s Hospital to support the transfer of patients needing treatment in the two hospitals

 A dedicated entrance and lift for relatives and friends visiting patients in critical care

 A specialist air filtering system in the hospital’s cystic fibrosis department to minimise the spread of airborne infections

 Single, en-suite patient bedrooms to improve patient privacy and dignity and minimise the spread of infection

 All outpatient and diagnostic services based on the ground floor so that outpatients can access all services in one place without needing to visit the upper floors

How it all began: Patients playing croquet outside Papworth Hall c1918.
How it all began: Patients playing croquet outside Papworth Hall c1918.

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