A landmark moment for Hereford County Hospital was marked today, Tuesday, October 23, with the start of the demolition of the old unoccupied Canadian hutted wards.
It is estimated that around a million patients have been admitted to the hutted wards since they began admitting patients in the 1940’s.
Used extensively during World War II, the hutted wards are being demolished to make way for new £21 million wards expected to open in 2020.
The new wards will provide 72 beds, an extra 34 beds over and above the capacity provided in the two hutted wards still currently in use for inpatients at Hereford County Hospital.
Due to the age of the building and closeness to the existing wards, Kier, the appointed contractor, is demolishing four unoccupied hutted wards a section at a time.
Building work on the new wards is set to start early next year, subject to funding approval from NHS Improvement (the body which monitors the performance of NHS hospital Trusts in England).
Jo Hall, paediatric diabetes specialist nurse who started work on Christopher Robin hutted ward in 1998, said: “Christopher Robin Ward was a really happy and friendly place to work and I have many fond memories of the unit. It’s a little sad to see the original ‘old huts’ go, but exciting to see the new developments”.
Jane Ives, managing director, at Wye Valley NHS Trust, said: “This marks the largest investment in increase bed capacity on the hospital site since it opened in 2002, and of course the end of an era for many staff who have worked in these hutted wards during the last 80 years, some of whom are still working for the Trust today.
“We’re delighted that the demolition is now underway to make way for the new 21st century wards and the Trust has submitted a further planning permission for an additional third ward.
“This is also a great opportunity to thank staff members who have worked in the hutted wards, and those still working on Monnow and Leadon Ward until 2020 when the new wards are expected to open.”
WVT managing director Jane Ives in the cab of the JCB with, left to right Tom Deakin, Kier senior site manager, Mark Thomas WVT project manager and paediatric diabetes specialist nurse Jo Hall.
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