Photos: New-look Clitheroe Hospital building

This is the first glimpse of Clitheroe’s new state-of-the-art community hospital.

The multi-million pound development is well on track to open its doors to the public in April next year and The Clitheroe Advertiser and Times was given exclusive access to the new hospital to show readers what they can expect once the £7.4m. facility opens.

The new Clitheroe Community Hospital building taking shape. Project Manager Craig Henderson with  builders James Wheeler and Graham Gaskell.

The new Clitheroe Community Hospital building taking shape. Project Manager Craig Henderson with builders James Wheeler and Graham Gaskell.

Work officially started on the two-storey, 4,050 square metre scheme, located on land off Chatburn Road, in February. The new hospital will have 32 in-patient beds – 16 of the beds will be individual rooms with en-suite bathrooms. There will then be four four-bed bays – all with en-suite bathrooms and different colour schemes. The artwork and decor of the wards has been inspired by Clitheroe folk.

There will be a large patient lounge, plus a “love snug” area where patients can spend time with their relatives away from the ward. The new hospital is the first in East Lancashire not to have nursing stations, instead, the nurses will have mobile computers on wheels. Health experts believe the move will encourage nurses to have more interaction with patients and be able to deliver higher standards of care.

In addition, there will be three physiotherapy teams, one occupational therapy team, special care dentistry treatment, diagnostic facilities, a new radiology department and an expanded out-patient department with eight consulting rooms.

Clitheroe Community Hospital is an NHS Property Services project and once complete the building will be handed over to East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) in April.

Andy Pratt, project director at NHS Property Services, said: “NHS Property Services are extremely happy with the progress on the building so far and we look forward to the anticipated handover in April 2014.

“This new development is providing a long awaited new 32-bed, in-patient facility with all the supporting infrastructure, which will provide the residents of the Ribble Valley and surrounding areas a state-of-the-art facility fit for the 21st Century.”

Craig Henderson, project manager at ELHT, said: “The construction team are on program with the building sealed and most of the internal infrastructure moving on well.

“We will see the flooring, doors, sinks and the beginning of the internal fixtures and fittings being introduced in the next few weeks.”

The new hospital wards have been carefully designed to ensure they create a comfortable and relaxing setting for people suffering with dementia-related illnesses.

John Dean, associate medical director at ELHT, said: “There is increasing evidence that the physical environment within which we deliver care has a major impact on the outcomes of care for dementia patients, the experience of care for them and their carers, and the experience and reward for staff.

“The Trust has developed a programme of simple changes to ward and communal areas across all Trust sites and will also be introducing these dementia friendly principles within the new Clitheroe Community Hospital.

“These enhancements will help people with dementia, improve the environment for staff and generally provide a more comfortable, calm and relaxing setting for all patients.”