£1.2 million transformation benefits patients and the environment

NHSPS Surveyor Graham Bell outside Queensway's transformed health centre during the works.

by Lisa Wright

A 1.2 million pound transformation of an NHS health centre in Hertfordshire is set to be unveiled to patients this week.

NHS Property Services has been overseeing the major refurbishment and remodelling project to Queensway Health Centre in Hatfield, which is owned and run by Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT).

Over the years the two storey 1960s building had become outdated in parts, with leaks in the roof, unreliable heating, draughts from single glazed windows and poor access. Deemed no longer fit for providing the high quality health services expected by patients, HCT took the decision to make a major investment in the building and asked NHS Property Services to oversee and deliver the project.

Queensway refurb 3 jpegThe completed centre now offers patients and staff a much cleaner, safer and fit for purpose environment in which to run and access health care services.

The extensive work has been undertaken by Hertfordshire based Newland Construction and designed by Ampersand Chartered Surveyors. It has used the very latest materials and technology to provide clinic rooms with contemporary standards of infection control, including the latest clinical wash basins, colourful plastic walling and coved vinyl flooring. In addition new Therma-skirt, a low surface temperature radiator that looks like a skirting board, has been installed in all the clinical spaces instead of traditional radiators, which are much easier to keep clean and maintain infection control standards.

Queensway’s green credentials have also been raised significantly with double glazing, roof and wall insulation, energy efficient lighting controlled by movement and daylight sensors, and a new gas heating system. The installation of solar PV and solar thermal panels on the roof supply the building with free electricity and hot water, helping to reduce utility bills and carbon emissions, and all surplus electricity generated is be fed back into the national grid. It is estimated that the building’s carbon footprint has been reduced by 65%.

NHSPS surveyor Graham Bell, who has been managing the project for the past 30 weeks, said: “I’m extremely pleased with the finished building. It’s a real testament to the hard work of our contractors Newland Construction, who have delivered the high specifications we wanted on every aspects of the project, and to Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and their commitment to invest in and improve health care facilities for their patients.

Queensway refurb 1“We really have achieved what we set out to do – providing a high quality, safe and clean health care facility for patients and staff to use and access for many years to come, and reducing the building’s carbon footprint thanks to the use of latest technologies. I’m very proud to have been able to oversee the delivery of this fantastic project.”

The new building will continue to provide the full range of services it did prior to the refurbishment, including baby clinics, children’s speech therapy, podiatry and family planning clinics.

David Law, Chief Executive  of HCT said: “I’m delighted with the finished clinic. It really is now a much brighter and better place for both patients and staff. We have made a significant investment in the building to make sure it provides the right environment to deliver high quality health care services to our patients. Although some patients may have to travel a little further to their appointments, we are confident that the fantastic new facilities will make up for this.”

Layout changes within the building have created a total of nine clinic rooms – four additional clinic rooms. An extension has provided a large multi-purpose room for larger clinics and meetings and upstairs a huge open plan office with 34 bookable desks, drop-in hot desks and four small quiet rooms have been created for HCT staff to use and work from.

There is now more storage space with the installation of heating and ventilation in the basement which has allowed it to be converted into useable storage. Patient and visitor access to Queensway has been radically improved with the former steep ramp into the back of the building removed and a new path to the front of the building built. And visually the interior and exterior of the centre have been radically transformed with new signage, landscaping, sky tiles in the ceiling, bold colours in the clinical rooms and a huge mural depicting a local landscape in the entrance foyer.

When the building was closed in March to allow contractors to move in, staff and services temporarily moved to the trust’s neighbouring health centre Parkway Clinic in Welwyn Garden City. Staff and services have now moved back into Queensway which will officially open to patients again on Friday 18 October.