Chief Nursing Officer for England Dame Ruth May visited the newest hospital building in the country at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton yesterday (Wednesday 11 October).
The Louisa Martindale Building (LMB) welcomed its first patients in June this year and is part of a multi-million-pound redevelopment that includes replacing the oldest NHS building, The Barry Building, which had been in service for 195 years.
The LMB is part of the first phase, and Dame Ruth was welcomed to the hospital to have a look around it by Maggie Davies, Chief Nurse for UHSussex, and Bev Hales, Divisional Director of Nursing for Medicine.
They went to the new stroke and rehabilitation suite, which represents a huge improvement in patient care and experience.
There is five times as much space per bed, with 65% of beds in ensuite single rooms. There is also a large, well-equipped rehabilitation gym, with an adjoining, dedicated courtyard garden, that also supports patient rehabilitation.
Dame Ruth also went to see the discharge lounge – a place dedicated to patients ready to leave hospital. This new facility has seen patient usage rise by 198% compared to the old service.
The hospital tour also took in the critical care ward and theatres, as well as a walk through the stunning ground floor atrium.
The LMB is seen as a once-in-a-generation leap forward for hospital care in Sussex, with 100,000 patients a year set to benefit from the new facilities and the improvements in outcomes and experiences they will bring.
Dame Ruth said: “I have visited the Trust before, but this is my first time visiting this new building. It is just fantastic, and I can see the difference it is making to both patients and staff.
“Seeing the stroke unit was wonderful. It has a lot of space for patients and staff, and even has sea views, with binoculars in the bays for patients to use, and a balcony.”
Maggie Davies said: “We are extremely proud of the LMB, and I was proud to show Dame Ruth around A&E and the new building, along with Bev.
This is a brilliant new building, one of the most impressive environments for patient care in the country. The facilities, the environment, the design – it’s all first class. The positive difference the LMB is making to staff and patients alike is really heartwarming to see.”
Dame Ruth, who was joined on her visit by Andrea Lewis, Regional Chief Nurse, South East, and Fortune Mhlanga, Deputy Head of Nursing and Quality at Oxford Health, began her visit with a tour of the County Hospital’s A&E.
The current A&E in Brighton is set for a £48m overhaul, delivering better and more effective care for patients, and Dame Ruth hinted at a return visit.
She said: “Thank you to all the nursing colleagues and others I met today, including teams in A&E who are working hard in challenging circumstances. I hope to come back again one day soon and look forward to seeing the rest of the refurbishments.”