'Topping out’ for new Poole Hospital theatre building
The construction of a new theatre building at Poole Hospital by Sir Robert McAlpine has reached a significant milestone, with a traditional ‘topping out’ ceremony.
Minister of State for Health, Edward Argar MP, and HM Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Angus Campbell, were present, along with University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust staff and local and national stakeholders. The event was hosted by Integrated Health Projects (IHP), an alliance between VINCI Construction UK and Sir Robert McAlpine, and also attended by IHP Board Member, Hector McAlpine, MD, South at Sir Robert McAlpine, Ian Cheung, and VINCI’s Regional director for London and South, Jason Griffiths.
A bagpiper led the guests to the top of the building, where a pouring of stone took place to ceremonially complete the roof, and an evergreen bough was nailed to the structure – a tradition that dates back to Roman times to protect buildings from evil spirits. This was followed by the symbolic exchange of a tankard ‘for a job well done’.
The new theatre building is an extension to the existing hospital building comprising a brand-new purpose-built five storey tower. It incorporates a four-table ‘barn’ theatre where the main surgical area is large and open-plan, with each patient treated in a dedicated space with an ultraclean air canopy over each station.
The Trust says that future consolidation of planned care on the Poole Hospital site will enhance throughput for elective operations without the disruption or delay that can occur from high volumes of emergency cases having to take precedence. Thousands of patients annually will benefit from shorter waiting times as a result of the greater efficiencies associated with establishing a planned care hospital.
Ian Cheung of Sir Robert McAlpine said: “This topping-out ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate the exemplar collaboration and technical excellence demonstrated by the project team and hospital staff. IHP is proud to work with UHD on this state-of-the-art healthcare facility, and we look forward to delivering the new theatre building at Poole Hospital, which will greatly benefit patients across the region.”
By 2023 patients requiring trauma surgery will start to benefit from the new facilities, along with more patients receiving day case treatments in better facilities, while by 2025 Poole Hospital will be ‘transforming into the major planned care hospital for Dorset, able to offer high quality elective care, protected from emergency pressures’.