THE new Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex is progressing at pace with building work set to completed by December 2016.
Attentions will then turn to getting the new facility equipped, stocked and ready to open its doors to care for patients and clients by March 2017.
With construction already at an advanced stage, the project lead, Michael MacCrossan and clinical director, Dr Paul McGlinchey, have stressed the importance throughout the process of engaging with the hospital staff who will be using the new state-of-the-art facility.
All services currently provided in the Tyrone County Hospital and Health Centre will be transferred across to the new Omagh Hospital Complex.
Giving an update of the £105 million hospital development, Mr MacCrossan said, “Work is progressing at a good pace, assisted by the mild weather in October this year. The concrete frame is virtually complete in most of the eight blocks; the structural steelwork on the roof top plant rooms is clearly visible across most of the blocks.
“External car park construction is on-going adjacent to Donaghanie road; flood alleviation works are substantially complete and landscape works also started in November.
“People who walk for exercise will be interested in the paths adjacent to the Camowen River. These will be accessible when the facility opens.”
Earlier this year equipment costing £1.3 million was purchased and is now operational in the various departments of the Tyrone County Hospital before transferring across to the new hospital building.
The new equipment includes ophthalmology equipment, anaesthetic machines, endoscopes and patient examination couches.
Located on a 50 acre site on the existing Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital, the aim of the design is to deliver “the best possible environment for patients, staff and visitors”.
Developed using a concept similar to a ‘Health Village’, the hospital complex will consolidate services on one site, enabling integrated working among health professionals and link effectively to regional and national healthcare networks.
The picturesque setting with green fields set adjacent to the Camowen River will be maximised to provide a ‘tranquil and relaxing environment’ for patients and their families attending the new hospital.
There will be a variety of open courtyards, atriums and pavilions, taking advantage of natural light and scenery so it will offer an ‘aesthetically pleasing and therapeutic environment.’
Emphasising how he wants this new hospital to meet the health care needs of the local community, Dr McGlinchey added, “It is an interesting project because there is nothing that offers such an interface between primary and secondary care in this part of the world. We are going to co-locate the health centre services with diagnostics and aspects of secondary care or hospital care within the same building, so patients have access to the tests and treatment that they need.
“It will also help develop links between hospital staff and primary care based staff, streamlining the process and providing a more efficient service with access to X-rays, scans, ECGs and cardiac investigations all within the same building.”
Mock rooms’ proving beneficial for hospital design
IT may be another 15 months or so before hospital staff in Omagh move to their new premises, but they are already receiving a glimpse of what their new state-of-the-art surroundings will be like.
This is thanks to the creation of a mock-up facility of two of the most common rooms to be built in the new Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex.
These are consult exam rooms (approximately 80 of these) and single in-patient bedrooms with en-suite shower/toilet (40 of these).
Constructed within a unused church building on the Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital site, these mock-up rooms are designed to replicate the fixtures, fittings, layout and working environment for the new Omagh Hospital.
There has been an emphasis also on wireless technology with computerised equipment. This includes the very latest heating and cooling system that will mean ‘dust catching radiators’ are a thing of the past.
More than 100 staff and ‘relocation leads’ have already evaluated the mock-up rooms.
Project lead for the new hospital development, Michael MacCrossan, said design changes have already been implemented thanks to the feedback from the staff.
He said, “The comments received to date from staff and users has allowed the project team to feedback many useful points to the design team, and ultimately, the contractor.
“This will ensure that the final construction reflects the best possible outcome with regard to the patient environment and issues such as infection control, health and safety and cleaning regimes. Other technical issues include lighting and the range, location and functionality of control switches.
“Infection control has had a huge input on the design, right down to what taps to use to help prevent against the spread of infections.
“Disability access has also been taken into consideration with larger doorways and toilets and all round better for disabled access.”
When operational the new individual patient rooms will be equipped with Wi-Fi allowing doctors to do their rounds with a tablet and bring up the patient’s charts on a TV on the wall.
As well as assisting the design of the hospital interior, the mock rooms also allow staff to get familiarised to what their new surroundings will be like and help enable a seamless transition as are already accustomed to the new equipment and technology.
With all the latest technology, there is an emphasis on ‘future-proofing’ the new hospital. This also involves being prepared for future energy developments such as the supply of natural gas.
Mr MacCrossan said “We are fully prepared for when natural gas comes this way and we have told Gas to the West we will be ready for it as early as possible.”