Work starts on new £49 million Elective Centre at Southmead Hospital

Jim Pierce, the deputy CEO of Darwin Group, handing over a ceremonial ground breaking spade to the team at Southmead Hospital.

Construction has started on a £49.9 million elective surgical centre at Southmead Hospital. The Elective Centre is a joint project between North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) supported by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board and NHS England. It will enable an additional 6,500 operations to be carried out across the area every year.

The state-of-the-art facility is being built by specialist healthcare construction firm Darwin Group. It will have four surgical theatres and 40 beds for patients to recover, as well as 12 medirooms (where patients prepare for, and recover from, surgery) and X-ray facilities. The additional capacity will also enable more patients to be seen in existing theatres at NBT and UHBW sooner.

As the centre will be separated from emergency services the surgical beds will be kept free for patients waiting for planned operations, reducing the risk of short-notice cancellations.

Modular units will be constructed offsite to deliver the project up to 60 per cent faster and with up to 90 per cent less waste than traditional building methods. Once groundworks have been completed, the prefabricated units will be brought to Southmead Hospital to construct the building, which is due to open in Spring 2025.

NBT Chief Executive, Maria Kane, said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners to bring nearly £50 million worth of investment to the area’s NHS. Once completed this Elective Centre, will transform and improve the way we provide elective care and enable us to treat our patients faster.

“It is wonderful to see work starting on the centre, which will be a fantastic asset for the whole of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, and we look forward to welcoming our first patients in Spring 2025.”

Professor Stuart Walker, UHBW Interim Chief Executive Officer, said: “This Elective Centre will improve patients’ experiences of planned surgery, enabling them to receive life changing treatment sooner and spend time in better health with their loved ones.

“We are excited that work has started on the centre and look forward to continuing our collaboration with partners across Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire to develop and deliver the Centre and services for our patients.”

Darwin Group Deputy CEO Jim Pierce said: “It was a pleasure to be at the groundbreaking event and to hear about the many positive impacts that the Elective Centre will bring for patients and staff.

“It’s going to be a fantastic project that delivers a huge amount of value to the local community. The Trusts have been brilliant partners to work with throughout the design and development process and I’m really looking forward to standing here again in 12 months’ time to hand over the keys.”

David Jarrett, Chief Delivery Officer at NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire ICB, said: “We’re excited to see work begin on a state-of-the-art centre for elective surgery. One of our key priorities as a health and care system is to reduce waiting lists and ensure people get treatment sooner, which this centre will play a key part in.

“This project is a collaboration involving partners from across our health and care system and shows our shared dedication to enhancing services in the area.”


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