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Healthcare / Service redesign

Bed layout a factor in choice of playing fields for island’s Nightingale facility

By Andrew Sansom 16 Apr 2020 0

The Channel Island of Jersey is creating a Nightingale Hospital with an additional 180 beds for coronavirus patients, with expansion to 240 beds if necessary.

Under construction on Millbrook Playing Field, the hospital will cost £14.4 million and be operational in the first week of May, less than a month after the decision was taken to build it. Site preparation began a week ago.

The project is being delivered by J3 – a Jersey-based joint venture company in which Sir Robert McAlpine has a majority shareholding, with its other joint-venture partners Garenne and FES. Government representatives and the military are also part of the project team.

The Jersey Nightingale Hospital will provide the extra in-patient care capacity expected to be required on the island, as the number of residents needing medical support in hospital increases. Patients at the temporary facility will be provided with acute, enhanced and ongoing levels of medical care, including oxygen provision but not invasive ventilation. The Nightingale will also enable the island’s General Hospital to maintain the important division between ‘hot’ coronavirus care areas and ‘cold’ general care areas. 

Design work has been progressing around the clock to allow for necessary sign-offs and procurement of key elements of the building to deliver the hospital on time. Work on site is well under way, with assembly of the aluminium frame and semi-rigid panels used to create the temporary building ongoing.  -

Spanning 150 x 30 metres, the building is designed to allow medical teams to work as efficiently as possible. There will be enough space for six 30-bed wards and areas to admit and discharge patients, as well as staff rest and changing facilities, X-rays, equipment storage, laundry and a morgue.

The chief minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “We expect the number of cases to grow slowly over time and then to escalate, and the Jersey Nightingale Hospital will provide the extra in-patient care capacity we will need as our curve gets steeper and the number of Islanders needing medical support in hospital increases.

“Health and Community Services are recruiting and upskilling staff in preparation for the increase in demand and this field hospital is the other vital element.”

He explained that by the Nightingale configuration of laying out beds in rows would enable the staff to work most efficiently and help meet increased demand.

The Millbrook site was identified as the most suitable location after a review of 16 sites against criteria including available space, topography, accessibility and access to infrastructure. The site is large and flat, so it can accommodate the prefabricated building imported from the UK, and has access to electricity and drainage.

Fort Regent and hotels were among the sites rejected, because they would not enable a Nightingale configuration of beds to be used, making the layout less efficient and adding to the demand for more clinical staff.

“I want to place on record my thanks to the family of the late Lord Trent for their support and willingness to allow the site to be used for the Jersey Nightingale Hospital,” said Senator Le Fondré. “The need to establish this new hospital underlines the serious nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it shows how seriously it is being responded to, and I hope that Islanders are reassured by the swiftness of this action.”

Sir Robert McAlpine brings to the project experience from working on the NHS Nightingale Hospital North West in Manchester, while FES has worked on the Glasgow SEC Nightingale Hospital. 

Chief executive of Sir Robert McAlpine Paul Hamer said: “We continue to be encouraged by how we and the wider construction industry can apply our knowledge and expertise to support the nation’s fight against COVID-19. We have an established connection with the island of Jersey and, operating with our partners as J3, we’re pleased that we can work together to support the Islanders at this challenging time.”

Healthcare lead Stuart McArthur added: “While the rapid progress on site is evident, the invisible round-the-clock efforts of the whole project partnership is just as impressive. We’re very proud to have been selected as a key partner for the Island in such times of need.”

In addition to high-profile Nightingale projects, Sir Robert McAlpine’s involvement in the establishment of temporary hospitals across the UK also includes operations in Preston and Bangor.