Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
About the rebuild
Why does the Royal Sussex County Hospital need to be rebuilt?
The main buildings at the front of the County Hospital in Brighton were built nearly 200 years ago. The wards are cramped and inadequately designed for 21st century healthcare and must urgently be replaced. The new development will make vital improvements to the hospital building and layout which will mean our efforts to prevent and control infection and provide safe and dignified care are no longer hindered by sub-standard buildings. The Barry Building, which was completed in 1828 came into service 20 years before Florence Nightingale started nursing. Both the Barry Building and the Jubilee wing came into operation before the discovery of the x-ray and before the sphygmomanometer for taking blood pressure was developed.
The redevelopment will also establish the Royal Sussex County Hospital as the Major Trauma Centre for Sussex and the wider region. The Centre will be for patients with severe and multiple injuries. This new centre, the first of its kind in Sussex, will ensure patients receive treatment locally instead of being referred to London-based hospitals. Current estimates suggest we will treat around 360 trauma patients per year (currently we treat approx 100 trauma patients per year).
In addition, the redevelopment will allow the expansion of the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, providing modern teaching and training facilities for undergraduates and staff.
How much will the rebuild cost?
The construction will take place in two main stages. Stage 1 will house the replacement wards from the Barry Building in fit for purpose modern accommodation with an average of 70% of patient rooms being in single rooms, expanded services for neurosciences, bringing together facilities for neurology and stroke and the facilities for the new Major Trauma Centre. Stage 2 which will house an expanded cancer care unit and the new facilities for Brighton and Sussex Medical School. In total the whole redevelopment will cost approximately £400 million.
What will happen to the new Children’s Hospital?
The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital was rebuilt in 2004 and is not part of the redevelopment plan.
Why is a helipad needed?
The air ambulance (run by the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Service) will mean shorter transfer times for patients with the most serious and critical injuries and life-saving treatment in a hospital much closer to where they live.
Subject to planning permission, the helipad will be located on the highest point of the hospital to minimise the noise for patients, staff and local residents. Currently the service only operates in daylight hours.
We are expecting about 360 major trauma cases a year, of which we expect less than one a week to need the air ambulance. However for these patients, the air ambulance service and a local helipad could be vital.
The helipad is also useful if seriously ill patients need rapid transfers between two hospitals. The development of trauma centres have been shown to save lives and to reduce the long-term effects and impacts of major injuries.
Is the Barry Building listed?
No, the building itself it not listed. The only listed parts are the panels and windows of the chapel which is based on level 6 of the Barry Building. We are currently in discussions with Brighton and Hove City Council and our architects to plan for the chapel’s relocation within the new development.
Who is paying for the rebuild?
The Trust believes that in order to make this vital redevelopment happen quickly it should be funded publically with government capital.
Why was the rebuild decided to take place in Brighton (at the site of RSCH) instead of Haywards Heath (at PRH)?
NHS Brighton & Hove and West Sussex PCT’s Fit for the Future consultation (2007) established the Royal Sussex County Hospital as the Critical Care Hospital for Sussex. NHS South East Coast’s Our NHS, Our Future document, Healthier People, Excellent Care (2008), then confirmed its establishment as the Major Trauma Centre for Sussex and the wider Region.
In addition to this the RSCH is the hub of the Sussex Cancer Network, providing cancer care for thousands of patients throughout Sussex. Importantly there are also better access and transport routes to and from RSCH for the Sussex population than at PRH.
The rebuild will take place in the centre of a built-up residential area. Why can’t you relocate the hospital somewhere else instead?
The Royal Sussex County Hospital has been at its current site for almost 200 years and the residential area has built up around us. Moving to a new site and building a new hospital from scratch would, at the very least, more than double the cost involved in redeveloping the existing site. We simply cannot afford this.
Will there be improved car parking facilities on site?
As plans for the hospital redevelopment progress we will be working closely with Brighton and Hove City Council to ensure that appropriate parking facilities for patients, visitors and staff are incorporated into the design and layout for the new building.
Benefits to patients
How will the rebuild improve the services patients receive?
More than 160,000 patients per year will benefit from the new redevelopment which will bring key emergency and specialist services together under one roof, ensuring immediate and co-coordinated healthcare for the most critically ill. Modern, spacious and fully-equipped wards will ensure patients receive safe, clean and first-class healthcare.
Will the re-build help reduce cases of MRSA, c-diff and other hospital acquired infections?
We have already reduced the number of MRSA cases on our wards by 45% and C.difficile cases acquired in our hospitals by 43%. We passed the Healthcare Commission’s hygiene code inspection as ‘best in class’ and won a national award as the most improved hospital for infection control in the south east.
The new development will make vital improvements to the hospital infrastructure which will mean our efforts to continue preventing and controlling infection and providing safe and dignified care are no longer hindered by sub-standard buildings.
About the services
Why is the Neurosciences service expanding?
The Regional Centre for Neurosciences is currently located at Hurstwood Park at the Princess Royal Hospital. The building is more than 70 years old and surgical wards are cramped and patients often raise concerns about the lack of privacy and dignity in the wards.
The move to Brighton was agreed in 2004 as part of the Best Care, Best Practice consultation, which followed the recommendations of three separate reports over the previous eight years.
Moving Neurosciences will allow expansion of the service, increasing the number of inpatient beds and providing three neurosurgical theatres (instead of the current two), so allowing approximately 350 more patients every year to be treated locally within Sussex instead of being referred to hospitals in London.
Neurosciences is a critical service for the Major Trauma Centre and the move will bring key emergency services together under one roof, ensuring immediate and co-coordinated healthcare for those who need it the most such as trauma, stroke and head injury patients.
Why is Sussex Cancer Care expanding?
A key part of the new development will be to expand the non-surgical cancer services at the Royal Sussex County Hospital/Sussex Cancer Centre to meet worldwide standards in the delivery and treatment of cancer care and lead the way in cancer treatment for the South East.
Specifically this includes the development of a new Chemotherapy Day Unit, increasing the radiotherapy service and doubling the number of beds on the Oncology Ward, enabling care for an extra 700 patients every year.
What is a Major Trauma Centre?
The redevelopment will establish the Royal Sussex County Hospital as the Major Trauma Centre for Sussex and the wider region. The service will be for patients with severe and multiple injuries. This new centre, the first of its kind in Sussex, will ensure patients receive treatment locally instead of being referred to London-based hospitals. Current estimates suggest we will be able to treat an extra 260 trauma patients per year.
This new centre will bring key emergency services, such as neurosurgery and the regional spinal service, together under one roof, ensuring immediate and co-ordinated healthcare for those who need it the most.
The NHS in London has recently consulted on the development of four major trauma centres across the capital, to be in place by 2011-12. We believe that the people of Sussex deserve the same quality of care and should have access to it locally.
About the construction process
How long will construction take and when will it begin?
We plan to begin Stage 1 of the construction in late spring 2010, Stage 2 will begin in 2014 and the full development is expected to be complete by 2019.
How much noise and disruption will there be during construction?
We have been working with the major international contractors, Laing O'Rourke, to develop our outline plans for development on the site.
We have not yet chosen the building contractor who will ultimately build the new buildings. Once they have been selected, we will have a much better idea of the levels of noise and disruption which we can expect and when the most difficult times in the construction process will be. We have learnt from the construction of the new Childrens’ Hospital and are committed to minimizing disruption to patients, visitors, staff and local residents wherever possible.
If Laing O’Rourke were chosen, they have confirmed that they are fully committed to minimising the impacts of our construction site activities. As standard practice all Laing O’Rourke projects register with the Considerate Constructor’s Scheme where their average score is over 35/40 (categorised by Considerate Constructors as “an exceptionally good site”). Detailed project Environmental Plans ensure that mitigation and control measures for all environmental issues (including noise, dust, pollution and other possible disruption for our neighbours and other stakeholders), are fully integrated into Laing O’Rourke’s working practices from the inception of the design through to project delivery.
The re-build is taking place on site. How will you continue to run the hospital when buildings are demolished?
The building work will take place in two stages. The first stage is scheduled to begin in Autumn 2010 where construction will start on the current site of the Jubilee block, Latilla building and Trust office headquarters. Services currently housed in these buildings include Trust offices, Nuclear Medicine, and wards for HIV, Oncology and Infectious Diseases and they will be re-housed at other suitable buildings nearby.
The relocation project itself is planned to begin in early 2010. Plans are now being developed which will include details of how and when each service will be moved and in what timescale.
About Princess Royal Hospital
Will the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath be affected?
The only change to PRH will be the move of the Regional Centre for Neurosciences (currently located at Hurstwood Park) to the new site in Brighton.