Work has begun on a new hospital for Mid Argyll, Scotland, which brings hospital, GP, dental, and social services onto the same site for the first time.
Based in Lochgilphead, the £18 million community hospital replaces the previous 100-year-old wooden building, and brings together all health and social care services, which are currently on different parts of the site and in different parts of the town.
PFI HOSPITAL BACKGROUND
The new facility will include: additional accommodation to support a planned future increase in the number of GPs and GP trainees, 15 inpatient beds staffed by experienced and specially trained GPs, a teleradiology link to allow x-ray films to be viewed by consultants in Paisley and Glasgow, multi-use consulting and treatment rooms which will be used by GPs, nurse led clinics and visiting consultants, an extra dental surgery, two wards for the care of the elderly, a day hospital / care facility for older people, and state of the art audiology and speech and language therapy consulting rooms.
Cutting the first turf on the new site, Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm said: “Mid Argyll Hospital is an excellent example of how local communities can redesign care to meet local needs, one which I hope will be replicated in other parts of Scotland. A range of innovative solutions has been employed to make best use of the whole team’s skills. For example, Lochgilphead GPs have trained to provide acute and intermediate care for the 15 inpatient beds and A&E services provided at the hospital.”
There is some local concern that this capacity is too restricted and will not serve the needs of the community.
The project is a PFI contract costing £18.4 million. It has a two-year construction and commissioning timescale and will be completed by April 2006.
HOSPITAL DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
The new building will be built by Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd who have engaged consultants, HLM Design, Faber Maunsell, FES and DSSR to design the building with medical planning advice being provided by W.S. Atkins Healthcare. The partners combine considerable experience in PFI and healthcare.
The project will enable the Trust to provide a modern, integrated facility for primary care, community health, hospital, social services and the Scottish Ambulance Service under one roof.
Parsons Brinckerhoff will maintain the facility and its grounds.
The designers have come up with an imaginative solution which responds to the physical constraints and opportunities presented by the site at Lochgilphead. The new building is to be a sympathetic yet contemporary design which will accommodate at its heart the new GP Practice closely integrated with modern out-patient services, acute in-patient services, obstetrics, A&E and x-ray facilities. In addition, the Scottish Ambulance Service and social services, dental and children’s and community services will also be housed at the same level as the main entrance.
The sloping site presented the designers with the opportunity to locate the new day hospital and occupational and physiotherapy facilities at a lower level to be integrated with the in-patient accommodation for elderly care and dementia care services.
These facilities will benefit from this quiet location, away from the main hub of the hospital, which provides direct access to external terraces and landscaped amenity spaces. Here, patients, visitors and staff can enjoy the afternoon and evening sunlight together with the views afforded by this south westerly aspect, overlooking the loch to the surrounding hills.
OPPOSITION TO THE PFI HOSPITAL
The new hospital is being built in the teeth of controversy as a number of other local facilities have been downgraded or closed, forcing patients to go as far afield as Paisley. Perversely, the construction and opening of the new facility is in fact being seen as a cost cutting exercise.