North Walsham’s new hospital set to arrive on the back of a lorry tomorrow

A major milestone in the �3.7m redevelopment of a north Norfolk community hospital takes place this week, with the arrival of the innovative new hospital in pieces, on the back of a lorry from Ireland.

Following the demolition of the former North Walsham hospital building last year, a new unit based on a cutting edge modular-design is to be constructed on the site.

The modular approach means the new hospital will be constructed from multiple pre-built pieces. The first pre-assembled section is due to be delivered to the site tomorrow, Tuesday, January 10.

A similar modular technique was also successfully used in the construction of Norwich Community Hospital's �8m stroke rehabilitation Mulberry Unit, also managed by Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C).

Anna Morgan, NCH&C's Director of Operations, explained: 'The delivery of these modules is a key moment in the construction of the new North Walsham Hospital and a very exciting time for everyone involved.

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'The modular design of this building offers a number of benefits, which will ultimately mean patients will soon be able to access high-quality care within a state of the art, yet affordable, clinical setting.

'One of the big benefits is that we have been able to demolish the former hospital building and prepare the ground while the modular pieces are constructed elsewhere.

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'This should help us complete the redevelopment project quicker than a traditional build and means the new North Walsham Hospital, which has a lifetime guarantee, will be open to patients as soon as possible. When it is completed, the new hospital will be a fantastic resource for local patients, as it is being built with modern care practices and equipment in mind to ensure it meets the needs of our patients.

Each module comes complete with interior walls, ceilings, door frames, electric points, and medical gas pipelines in place. Once on site, a crane will lift each piece onto pre-made concrete foundations. The new construction will stand on the same site as the former hospital building, which was demolished during 2011.

Once the first pieces are put in place tomorrow, the construction team would be able to start immediately on the next stage of construction, which would see final interior fittings, such as plumbing and electric cables connected, said Ms Morgan.

Later, brickwork would clad the building and a pitched roof would be put in place in February, with the new hospital due to be completed and fitted with equipment in spring 2012.

The arrival of the modules at North Walsham will mark the end of a long journey for each of the pieces, which are being supplied by Roan Building Systems Ltd, based in Ireland. Each will be transported from a factory near Dublin, where they have been built.

The first 11 modular pieces will be delivered throughout the day tomorrow, with a further 11 expected to be delivered each day until Friday, January 13. The 44 total pieces will be joined together as they are delivered on the site to form the new hospital building.

When complete, the single-storey hospital will boast a brand new 24-bed inpatient unit, an increase from the former hospital's 16 beds. Patients staying on the ward will have access to high-quality rehabilitation services. The hospital will also be connected to Rebecca House, the site's existing outpatient unit, which already houses a number of clinics.

Commenting on the beginning of the construction work, Brian Elliott, chairman of the hospital's league of friends and community involvement panel, said: 'North Walsham hospital has a long history of caring for local people and the construction of the new building marks the beginning of a new chapter for the hospital.

The modular approach was symbolic of the modern health and care services which would soon be available to local people. It would be the fulfilment of all the league's dreams after many years of campaigning.

Rebecca House, the outpatient unit on site, will remain open this week but vehicle access to the site may be restricted at times so patients may be required to use alternative, off-site parking.

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