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Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham takes in its first patients

The first patients moved into Birmingham’s new BDP designed superhospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Wednesday (16th June2010).

The hospital, set to revolutionise healthcare design, provides 1,231 beds as well as an accident and emergency department, specialist burns and transplant wards, a decontamination suite and 30 operating theatres.

Andrew Smith, Project Director and head of Healthcare at BDP, said ‘This is a much needed facility for Birmingham. Our design is focused on the concerns of the individual patient.  The design supports the efficient provision of the best possible clinical service in an environment that is attractive and uplifting, not only for patients themselves, but also their visitors and the staff who provide their care’.

He added that the main challenge was ensuring the building didn’t feel enormous and people could find their way around it. “We concentrated on making it as easy and as intuitive to use as possible.”

The hospital is conceived as three elliptical bedroom towers sitting over a high tech medical treatment podium. Externally, this helps soften the scale of the hospital, and enables maximum exploitation of the fabulous views over Birmingham.

Internally, it offers several advantages. In the middle of each tower is an external courtyard wide enough so people can get a clear view of the sky and where the sun is, which helps with wayfinding.  It also means every ward is filled with natural light.

The £545 million project for PFI consortium Consort Healthcare was built by a construction joint venture comprising Balfour Beatty and Haden Young.

BDP, as masterplanners, architects, landscape architects and acoustic consultants, were responsible for the design of the site masterplan and the acute teaching hospital for the University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust. Nightingale Associates worked with BDP as architects for 4 new mental health units for the Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Trust which also formed part of the PFI. Other members of the design team included civil & structural engineers White Young Green and M&E engineers Hulley & Kirkwood and Couch Perry Wilkes.