New health facilities to improve the treatment experience of West Country patients for a range of conditions have taken a major step forward in Cornwall.

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has appointed BAM Construction to create a new MRI suite, 24-bed Haematology Oncology Ward and associated facilities. The current Oncology Ward Lowen Ward, will relocate to the new Unit in autumn 2022.

The circa £30 million development in Treliske, Truro,  is being funded via national NHS capital funding streams and delivered via  the Government’s capital framework for healthcare in England known as Procure 22. This framework allows for a competitive process from an approved range of contactors. 

The new building will be a three-storey extension to the existing Trelawny Wing, with the MRI suite connected at lower ground floor level to the Imaging Department and designed to contain up to three scanners.

The construction challenge includes a significant range of service diversions in a live hospital environment, and considerable logistical limitations on access.

Work on the main building phase of the project will commence on site shortly using new methods BAM has adopted in order to create social distancing and operate safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Initial enabling works were completed at the end of January 2021, with full completion of the scheme by autumn 2022.

Key partners for the scheme include Stride Treglown (architects) Arup (structural engineers) and Hoare Lea (mechanical & electrical providers). BAM’s own design practice has provided peer review services.

BAM will be implementing an employment and skills plan on the project to create both local employment and training opportunities alongside upskilling the workforce. It has been engaging with local companies and has appointed Cornish based partners such as T Clarke, WBM groundworks and Luscombes already.

“We’ve been on site conducting minor works for the Trust over the last couple of years so we have formed a good understanding and relationship with them and our partners in advance of the major works commencing.

“We will have to keep the hospital fully functional during this time despite the technical challenges.

“As ever, communication between us is critical to achieve exactly what the Trust needs to provide the right services for people across Cornwall into the future. I’m pleased to say that we’re local here too and it means a great deal to us to be involved.”

Graham Kingdon

Construction Director

Roberta Fuller, Head of Hospital Reconfiguration at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

“RCHT is delighted to be working in partnership with BAM on the new MRI suite and Haematology / Oncology Unit. This new building will be of great benefit to the people of Cornwall; providing important diagnostic and treatment services in a modern, high quality environment. 

“One of the reasons for selecting BAM to work with us at RCHT was their extensive experience and reach within the construction industry. Being able to source the best possible advice and expertise in a timely manner has been critical in the design and ongoing delivery of this project. These new facilities will provide a much improved space for both patients and staff”.

Sarah Caskey, Clinical Matron at the Trust, said: 

“Having worked within cancer nursing care for 25 years I am delighted and honoured to have been involved from the start of this project and to be part of providing a new ward for the Haematology and Oncology patients of Cornwall. Nursing and medical staff, along with patients, have contributed to the design of the ward and acute oncology assessment area.  We will have an increase in specialised isolation rooms and overall bed provision.  Myself and my nursing team are excited at this opportunity to be able provide the highest standards of care with the most up to date facilities and environment for our patients”.  

The new Lowen Ward, “Lowen” (a modern Cornish vocabulary word meaning “joyful”) will be a 24-bed ward that specialises in looking after haematology, oncology and palliative patients. It will also care for patients who need to be isolated as part of their treatment with specially ventilated rooms dedicated to this purpose.

The Head of Construction Procurement, NHS Estates and Facilities, Cliff Jones was also pleased to see the scheme begin. He said: 

“We are delighted that the new Lowen Ward has benefited from the collaboration and early engagement between client and contractor that the ProCure22 Framework promotes. This partnership realises the stakeholder requirements and aspirations over the lifecycle of a project and is key to the resulting improvements in healthcare delivery for the community it will serve. We look forward to the successful delivery of this unique and dynamic facility.”

BAM’s track record in Cornwall and Devon dates back to 1900 when it created the impressive Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, and since then has constructed dozens of offices, schools, university buildings and other healthcare projects. The company is also behind several current major healthcare schemes elsewhere in the UK.