After several years of planning, and two years of construction, the new £97 million Heartlands Treatment Centre (HTC) – the first large-scale capital investment at Heartlands Hospital in East Birmingham since 2008 – has opened its doors and treated its first patient.
Richard Mullen from Walmley had an MRI scan on a Philips scanner funded by the hospital’s official charity. Cutting a ribbon to mark the occasion (see photo), he said: “I was referred to the new Heartlands Treatment Centre after an incident at a trampoline park, which resulted in me hurting my ankle. It feels good to be the first person in the new centre here at Heartlands Hospital; I’m honoured.”
The new facility was delivered on time and on budget, with the keys officially handed over to University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust by Kier Construction last November. Since then, the Trust has turned the building into a fully functioning clinical space which will treat up to 1,500 patients a day. The HTC will offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ for patients, offering diagnostics, day case procedures, endoscopy, audiology, outpatients, therapies, and imaging services. With a footprint of over 18,000 m2, the building stands four storeys high, with 149 tonnes of steel and 12.5 miles of pipework inside. ‘State-of-the-art technology’ has been installed, with brand new theatre suites and advanced imaging equipment.
Mark Leftwich, MD at Philips UK and Ireland, said: “Through our partnership together, the new centre features multiple Philips systems, including an MR Ingenia Ambition, operating with only seven litres of helium, an MR Ingenia Elition, two DigitalDiagnost C90 X-ray systems, and an Azurion image guided therapy system. This is truly an exciting moment to celebrate for Heartlands Hospital and the community of Birmingham, who will experience first-hand these latest advancements in care.”
Jonathan Brotherton, Interim CEO at UHB, said: “Today marks the culmination of many years of planning and hard work, and I’d like to thank all the staff who have made the Heartlands Treatment Centre a reality. To be able to offer our patients this superb new space and the very best in new technology, alongside the excellent clinical skills and expertise of our staff, is what we have been working towards.”
The majority of patients will be seen in the new Outpatients Department, which features multi-language and disabled-friendly self-check-in kiosks for patients, along with wayfinding technology on each floor. Patients can wait for their appointments in large, light-filled areas. There are wheelchair-friendly toilets on every level, and a Changing Places toilet for patients and staff with complex disabilities, plus baby changing and feeding facilities. All clinical areas have been designed with the patient as the focus, including individual bespoke patient changing and private preparation rooms.
UHB Charity’s director of Fundraising, Charlotte Schofield, said, “We are proud to work with UHB to bring Heartlands Treatment Centre to Heartlands Hospital. Our aim as a charity is to go ‘over and above’ what the NHS can provide for patients and their families. With the help of our fantastic fundraisers, we have managed to fund one of two MRI scanners; not only will this help increase the number of patients being seen, but it will also help reduce waiting times.”
UHB Charity is currently fundraising to decorate the MRI suite, treatment, and consultation rooms with comforting images ‘to create a more relaxing and calming environment for patients and their families, as well as a more attractive space for staff’.
Steve Barclay, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “As part of our commitment to upgrade hospitals across the country, 1,500 patients a day in Birmingham will benefit from state-of-the-art new facilities and technologies as the new Heartlands Treatment Centre opens its doors today. The centre brings a range of services under one roof – from audiology to cardiology – meaning more patients can be treated more efficiently.”