New Royal London hospital to open in six months
It has been five years in the making but in six months’ time the East End will open Europe’s largest and one of its most technically advanced new hospitals.
Behind the current Royal London hospital on Whitechapel Road lays a sleek blue tower and adjoining blocks where modernised, roomy wards provide a stark contrast to the cramped, dark departments of the old building.
And despite its record as a clinical leader in trauma and emergency care in London, alongside a good survival rate, the Royal London’s doctors, nurses and patients agree that the building is in need of an overhaul.
Emma Anderson, matron on the renal and urology ward, said: “The new hospital is going to be fantastic – spacious, airy, bright. The overall perception for our patients will be remarkable. All the en-suite facilities will make a massive change.”
The new hospital will occupy an area equivalent to 40 football pitches and its tallest building is almost as high as Big Ben.
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Alongside new and roomier children’s and maternity units, cutting-edge equipment has been integrated into the operating theatres and A&E departments.
More than 40 per cent of ward accommodation will be provided in single rooms with en-suite facilities.
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Barts and The Royal London medical director Steve Ryan said the new hospital will replace “outdated, awkwardly configured, facilities with facilities that meet the challenge of providing healthcare to a population which has some of the most challenging health needs of any in the UK.”
As part of a �1 billion private finance initiative, the new building has not come cheaply though.
Some critics have warned that as health budgets are dropping, the NHS trust may struggle to keep up with its repayments of �6.5 million a month.
Campaigning group Health Emergency revealed earlier this year that more than 100 beds would are to go before they are opened because of the high costs of running the hospital.
It warned that health bosses could be left with hospital space they “cannot afford to run”.
But in spite of the financial challenges, patients and staff are hopeful about the new hospital.
Jonathan Blake, 21, an out-patient who visits the Royal London two to three days a week for kidney dialysis, said: “Bigger wards are always better. It’ll be great to have to a fresh new building to come to.”