Putting heart and soul into building the new Papworth Hospital
Work is on track at the new Papworth Hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus site for what will be one of the largest heart and lung specialist hospitals in Europe.
When patients step into the hospitals of the future, what will they find? The new Papworth will be a hospital for the 21st century. The world-class site has been designed with input from the experts who will use it and the patients who will visit it.
Consultant cardiologist Will Davies said: “It’s a once-in-a-career opportunity to be involved in designing a new operating room, a new hospital, around our patients. It’s not often that you get the chance to do that in a career, so I’m looking forward to it immensely.
“It’ll be a great challenge – there’s obviously a lot of things we need to get right. But I’m looking forward to moving the Papworth ethos of quality and patient-centred care to the new hospital.”
Moving the pioneering hospital to impressive new facilities on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus site is costing £165million.
The current Papworth Hospital, which celebrates its centenary next year, is one of the largest heart and lung specialist hospitals in Europe. Each year, approximately 100,000 people come through its doors.
In September, it was announced that The Queen had granted the new hospital a royal title.
Since performing the UK’s first successful heart transplant in 1979, Papworth has been at the forefront of organ transplants and remains the country’s largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital and the UK’s leading adult heart and lung transplantation centre.
Stephen Posey, chief executive officer at what is now called Royal Papworth Hospital, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see it now, taking shape as a hospital.
“We’ve been hearing through staff, who have been coming to the new site and seeing where they’ll be working, that excitement is building through our workforce which is great to hear. It’s quite humbling being here in terms of the equipment that’s going in shortly, and what we’re going to be doing this time next year.”
He continued: “I think what I’d focus on is our new location. Here, at the heart of Cambridge Biomedical Campus – surrounded by all these organisations with terrific reputations where we can collaborate and develop new treatments, new equipment to treat patients in the future, and with those academic links through to the University of Cambridge – I think we’re going to see real improvements in that regard as we move across in 2018.”
Many of the 2,000 staff who will work at the new Papworth will transfer from the existing hospital, but more will be needed. Managers say there are vacancies, and recruitment days will be held in the months leading up to the move as part of a campaign launched to attract new staff.
Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chairman professor John Wallwork, who in 1986 performed the world’s first heart-lung and liver transplant with Professor Sir Roy Calne, also attended the tour.
“Papworth is a truly special place where we strive to deliver the treatments of tomorrow to the patients of today,” he said previously.
Visitors to the new hospital will enter through a north or south entrance into a large atrium where there will be a restaurant and waiting area.
The ground floor is where the hospital’s approximately 80,000 outpatients will be seen in a centrally-located outpatient unit.
From here there is access to diagnostic and treatment facilities including the day ward, radiology, CT and MRI scanners, physiotherapy, plus speech and language therapists. The guided busway will be extended and stop outside the building.
The hospital’s high-tech operating theatres, where equipment is suspended from the ceiling to allow staff to move around freely, and 46-bed critical-care areas, are up on the first floor.
Mechanical and electrical services take up the second floor, and include a vast air conditioning system that filters and controls airflow for the rooms below to ensure it is clean and at the right temperature and humidity.
On the third, fourth and fifth floors are the hospital’s wards, which include 240 inpatient beds in private, en-suite rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. All bedrooms are within the sightline of nursing stations and there will be day rooms on each ward floor for patients to use if they want the company of others.
Down in the basement a tunnel is being built out to connect Papworth to neighbouring Addenbrooke’s Hospital. There are plans for another tunnel to the nearby heart and lung research institute in the coming years.
Mr Posey said: “The new Papworth Hospital is a vision realised by the clinicians and the people working at Papworth. They have supported and helped design the hospital.
“They’ve designed the flow and they’ve looked at the adjacencies and where units are going to be located, and they’ve looked to improve on what we’ve got and to learn from best practice internationally.”
Meanwhile, the build at the new site, which began in 2015, remains on schedule, with the building itself due to be substantially complete in mid-February. Then begins the installation of the major equipment: the CT scanners, the MRIs, and all of the exciting kit for the brand-new cath labs.
One of the biggest challenges for the project team was in negotiating connection into the centuries-old waterway around the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
The result of this process has meant that the current hospital’s much-loved duck pond will be recreated at the new site.
Mr Posey concluded: “Papworth is its people.
“We talk about Papworth people at the hospital and that is a very true thing. It’s a series of behaviours, knowledge, experience, commitment, passion, but most of all a kind, caring nature, so I think people should expect a much nicer environment but they should expect the same levels of patient care, patient focus and patient outcomes.”