Southmead Hospital's Brunel building has been open for a year

The Brunel building at Southmead Hospital Bristol has been fully open for a year.

Since opening to patients last May more than 80,000 patients have attended the Emergency Department at the hospital, more than 50,000 planned operations have been carried out and there have been more than 290,000 outpatient appointments.

The state-of-the-art hospital brought together most services from the old Frenchay and Southmead hospitals together under one roof for the first time.

Bringing services together in the purpose-built hospital has meant that patients now benefit from new services and technology and an improved environment.

Three quarters of inpatients are now cared for in single bedrooms with their own bathrooms and a view, which has brought improvements for infection control.

The Brunel building at Southmead Hospital Bristol, which has now been fully open for a year

Patient privacy and dignity has also been enhanced with the clinical corridor which means that patients are not pushed through the main public corridors to wards and theatres as they were in the old hospitals.

Centralising services in a modern building has also meant that North Bristol NHS Trust uses less power. The Brunel has been designed to be more sustainable than the old hospital buildings, for example patient rooms face towards the warming morning sun but out of the sun at the hottest part of the day, significantly reducing the amount of energy required.

Chief Executive, Andrea Young, said: “A year on from the Brunel being fully open we have come a long way.

“Moving into our new hospital was a tremendous undertaking and involved a great deal of hard work from our staff.

“There were difficulties in the initial weeks and months but a year on we are settling in well

“We are now reaping the rewards of having our new building and seeing the benefits of having most of our staff based on one site, working more closely together in a state of the art building that has been designed for the provision of 21st Century care.

“We have already seen some great successes and pioneering achievements in the Brunel – from the reduction of hospital-acquired infections to being the only hospital in the UK routinely using an intraoperative MRI scanner for adults.

“I thank our staff for their hard work and dedication to caring for patients while adapting to new ways of working - I am very proud of all your efforts.”

While the main Brunel building has now been open a year, work continues on completing the redevelopment of the Southmead Hospital site.

Demolition of the old hospital buildings has now almost finished, with the final block expected to be demolished by July.

Construction of the second phase of the Brunel, which includes the new patient and visitor car park is well underway and progress can now be seen from the main atrium.

Work on the site is due to be completed by this time next year and as well as the car park there will be more space at the front of the building for buses, a cycle centre, a community arts space and more green space.

Examples of improvements to care as a result of the move to the Brunel building

Intraoperative MRI in neurosurgery – Southmead Hospital is the first in the UK to routinely use intraoperative MRI for adult patients.

This service is possible due to a theatre with a special table which enables the transfer of patients to an MRI scanner in an adjoining room without the need to close up patient’s head first. This means surgeons can remove more of a patient’s brain tumour than before as they can use the scanner as they go along to see if there is more they can remove without affecting other parts of the brain.

Neurosurgeon Venkat Iyer in Brunel building theatre used for intraoperative MRI cases

Consultant Neurosurgeon Venkat Iyer, who has led the service, also uses the intraoperative MRI scanner to assist surgery to remove brain tumours while patients are awake. He is not aware of anywhere else using intraoperative scanning in this way.

Mr Iyer said the team involved in the use of the intraoperative scanner has been preparing for the technology now available in the Brunel building for more than five years, and is now making the most of having the facilities.

Vascular Transfer – In October Southmead Hospital became the specialist major arterial centre for patients in Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and some parts of Wiltshire and Somerset.

The transfer of vascular surgery means that Southmead Hospital is now delivering 24/7 multidisciplinary specialist vascular care inside the Brunel for both elective and emergency patients.

This has led to a reduction in the time it takes for urgent cases to access theatre and patients spending less time in hospital after they have undergone their procedure.

Medical Day Care – Five different departments from across the old Southmead and Frenchay hospitals – Frenchay Day Hospital, Haematology Day Unit, Renal Day Unit, Rheumatology Day Unit and G Ward Hot Clinic - were brought together into the Medical Day Care Unit as part of the move to the Brunel building.

As a result of bringing the teams together there is now has more capacity than before the move. This brings greater flexibility to help patients who need urgent transfusions, which in turn prevents inpatient stays.

The Medical Day Care Unit celebrate the anniversary of the move into their unit in the Brunel building Southmead Hospital Bristol

The unit is also has a garden, which doors open out to, so patients can have their treatments outside if they wish and the weather permits.

The Medical Day Care staff were honoured as the Team of the Year in the Director of Nursing Awards held at the Trust earlier this month as part of International Nurses Day commemorations. They were nominated for “making patients happy and giving treatment in a timely way and make sure they have had a good experience here in medical day care”.

Maternity – it’s not just within the Brunel that improvements have been made for patients. The maternity unit, which remains in the same buildings as before the new hospital opened, now has two critical care beds within the unit for mums who become unwell during pregnancy or immediately after birth.

There is also now a new family room in the unit.

Attendances in the Brunel building from June 1, 2014 until April 30, 2015:

  • Emergency Department Attendances: 77,291
  • Elective Inpatient Admissions: 11,595
  • Elective Daycase Admissions: 36,147
  • Non-Elective Inpatient Admissions: 41,943
  • New Outpatient Attendances: 85,888
  • Follow-Up Outpatient Attendances: 185,487
  • Outpatient Procedures: 19,356

The Brunel building

Southmead Hospital Bristol

The Brunel building is now fully open.