Hospital bosses and contractors are celebrating the completion of the new Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot, a world-class new facility that will offer planned non-emergency care to patients in Berkshire and beyond.
The new £98m facility, designed by global interdisciplinary design practice, BDP, and built by Kier Construction for Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, puts a timely new emphasis on both patient and staff mental and physical wellbeing.
The 11,500sq m building includes six state-of-the-art operating theatres, plus outpatient and diagnostic facilities for orthopaedics, cardiology, radiology, lithotripsy, physiotherapy, and orthodontics, all in a contemporary, highly-sustainable facility set in woodland.
Ascot has been home to a hospital at Heatherwood for almost a century. But, with ageing facilities and a growing need for investment, its long-term future was in doubt prior to designs for its transformation.
Frimley Health's ambitious plan has seen the new building at the back of the current hospital site take shape while existing services have remained fully operational.
And it is hoped that patients will be transferred to the new hospital in spring next year.
The new facility is part of the trust's strategy to double the number of patients visiting Heatherwood each year to 168,000 over the next decade.
Designing the hospital, BDP has made the most of the stunning natural setting to maximise the wellbeing benefits that access to nature can provide.
Bringing together a full range of design specialists, including architects, interior designers, landscape architects, civil engineers, lighting and acoustics specialists, and sustainability experts, the team has taken an integrated holistic approach to the design of both the wider masterplan and the hospital itself.
And the design draws in the landscape to enhance the building's links with nature.
For example, patient bedrooms have views across the treetops and access to outdoor terraces; the café space offers woodland views; and there is a large biodiverse pond area and nearby nature walks.
This biophilic design approach supports patient recovery and creates a calm and natural environment for patients, staff, and visitors.
Heatherwood's design is also built around the co-location of integrated and complementary departments at the same site, enabling highly-efficient throughput of patients.
Through its use of digital technology and flexible outpatient spaces, it will offer a one-stop shop for urology patients, reducing the number of visits to the site for patients.
Sustainability has been fundamental to the scheme, with renewable energy from a solar farm covering a large section of the hospital’s roof, and a robust sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS) installed under the car park.
Rainwater from the roof drains into a nearby balancing pool, preventing flooding and will be used to promote biodiversity in the area.
And BDP civil engineers developed an innovative approach to address the challenge of the sloping site by repurposing soil excavated for landscaping on site.
The design places sustainability and wellbeing at its heart, celebrating its beautiful woodland location and maximising its links to nature
This minimised the environmental impact of the excavation and meant that no soil was exported, resulting in 12,000 fewer lorry journeys.
In addition, 95% of all site waste was recycled.
Sean Woodhead, architect associate for BDP, said: "Working directly with the trust's healthcare professionals to design the space according to patients’ needs and the requirements of ever-evolving technology has been crucial to delivering a contemporary facility that will stand the test of time.
“The design places sustainability and wellbeing at its heart, celebrating its beautiful woodland location and maximising its links to nature."
Neil Dardis, trust chief executive, added: "The handover is an exciting milestone for us as a trust – the day that we officially takeover the building and get it ready to welcome our first patients next spring.”