Special guest Baroness Nicola Blackwood completed the final brush strokes of St Helier Hospital’s £12 million exterior refurbishment this week, signalling the completion of the mammoth project.
Health Minister for Life Sciences, Baroness Blackwood, was greeted at St Helier by Chairman Laurence Newman and Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles before being taken on a brief tour of the hospital and taking the time to meet senior managers from our health and social care partners, including Sutton Clinical Commission Group, the London Borough of Sutton and NHS Improvement. The Baroness also heard about The London Cancer Hub project, which will create a world-leading life science campus in Sutton, from the London Borough of Sutton and The Institute of Cancer Research, London.
As a crowd of proud staff looked on, the Baroness then took on the challenge of officially finishing the work by painting the last square of rendered wall in its now famous accent green. The project, which has taken a year to complete and relied on more than four miles of scaffolding, has overhauled the look of the building and transformed the environment for patients. It has included replacing the roof, repairing the steel infrastructure of the building, replacing more than 300 windows and adding a 10cm thick render to help protect the building from the elements.
Baroness Nicola Blackwood, said: “It was fantastic to see the impressive refurbishment work at St Helier, and I was honoured to play my part by adding the finishing touches to the paint work.
“The flagship project will be a massive boost to all the patients and I want to thank all the staff as without them improvements such as these would not happen.
“I also had the opportunity to meet and talk with the dedicated frontline staff, and it was particularly fantastic to hear that the trust has such a high morale, with a priority of putting the patient at the centre of everything they do.
“And as part of the NHS Long Term Plan we are guaranteeing the future of the NHS through an extra £33.9bn a year by 2023/24 in cash terms.”
Baroness Blackwood also did the honour of unveiling a commemorative plaque on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health the Rt Hon Matt Hancock. After the painting was completed and the plaque unveiled, Baroness Blackwood spoke to nurses, doctors and support staff who work in the main blocks of the building (those teams who worked hard to help keep patients comfortable during the disruption of the work) about their roles in a busy hospital.
Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles said: “This project is the largest scale improvement the Trust has seen for a generation. It has taken the hard work and dedication of a huge number of our staff, and has completely transformed this area of our hospital.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to Baroness Blackwood for officially completing this project, for taking the time to hear about the future of our hospitals and to meet St Helier staff. Our staff do an amazing job in challenging circumstances, and despite the fact that our ageing buildings can sometimes let us down, staff will always go above and beyond to care for patients.
“It was an honour to meet Baroness Blackwood, and we were all touched by the kind words and positive feedback she gave us – it was truly a proud day for St Helier Hospital and all of our staff.
“I would also like to thank our other special guests for being part of the day and supporting this project. They include: The Chief Executive of the London Borough of Sutton Helen Bailey, Deputy Leader of the Council Jane McCoy, Paul Scully MP, Tom Brake MP, the Clinical Chair of Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Jeff Croucher and Acting Managing Director Michelle Rahman.”
Dr Jeff Croucher, said: “We were delighted with the support from Baroness Nicola Blackwood for the official opening of Blocks B and C. These much improved facilities provide many benefits to Sutton patients as well as giving Trust staff a better working environment to deliver high quality care.”