Giant scaffolding is now evident at the front of St Mary's Hospital where the £11 million remedial works, to repair the corroded exterior shell of the main hospital, gets underway.
This Work is a key part of the four year, £26 million Estate Development Programme at St Mary's. At a breakfast launch this morning, Roger Manison, Estate Development Programme Director, explained the timing and intricacies of this key part of the programme.
The existing stainless steel exterior is to be replaced with a new, zinc based, material that has a life expectancy in excess of 60 years. It will look similiar to the existing stainless steel but is slightly duller in appearance. The work will also include changes to window frames, roof-lights, guttering and the patient conservatory areas.
The work is being undertaken in a series of five phases that start today and will be completed in April 2003. The first parts of the building to be affected are the catering and restaurant area as well as the hospital's energy centre.
"We have worked for many years to get to this important day," said Graham Elderfield, Chief Executive of the Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Trust. "We have a major problem with the external fabric of the hospital building that will now be remedied. We are committed to keeping 'Business as Usual' throughout the work so that the inevitable disruption to patients and staff will be minimal. There will be no cancellation of any patient activity as a result of this work."
As the work proceeds around the hospital each area will be enveloped in specially designed scaffolding with a weather proof membrane allowing the work to be carried undercover and protected from the elements.
Funding for the entire Estate Development Programme has been obtained from the Department of Health. There will be no cuts in services in any way as a result of this work.
The Estate Development Programme includes the new £2.2 million Day Procedures Unit, as well as the new £4.3 million, state of the art Mental Health facility, Sevenacres, both of which will open later this summer.