The Royal Bournemouth Hospital in the UK has begun construction of its new hospital building that will feature a critical care unit, an emergency department, a children’s unit and a maternity unit.

The Beach Building will be a 26,000m2 hospital over six storeys, and position Royal Bournemouth Hospital as a major emergency healthcare facility in Dorset.

At the ground breaking ceremony, University Hospitals Dorset (UHD) chief strategy and transformation officer Richard Renaut said: “This is a ground-breaking day in many ways as we celebrate what is a significant milestone for our local NHS and the patients we serve.

“The establishment of The Beach Building represents significant investment and commitment by the NHS. It will be a modern, sustainable building, providing high quality facilities for our existing services, allowing our clinical teams to improve the way we deliver the services within it.”

The new building will be built by contractor Integrated Health Projects (IHP), a joint venture of Vinci Construction UK and Sir Robert McAlpine.

The Beach Building is expected to open in autumn 2024.

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Vinci London and South regional director Jason Griffiths said: “This project represents exactly what the IHP Joint Venture was formed to deliver.

“Through our technical expertise and leadership, our aim is to deliver this outstanding healthcare scheme using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), constructing offsite where possible, and in a sustainable manner which minimises the impact on the environment.”

The Beach Building forms a part of $338m (£250m) transformation plan of UHD hospitals that include Poole Hospital and Christchurch Hospital.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, plans for a new NHS eye hospital in Sunderland have been given approval by Sunderland City Council.

Anticipated to open in 2024, this £36m hospital will replace the current Sunderland Eye Infirmary facility that is over seven decades old.

The services offered from the current Sunderland Eye Infirmary will shift to the new modern facility.

Construction work of the new eye facility is anticipated to begin in spring next year.