£98m Heatherwood Hospital completes with access to nature at its heart

£98m Heatherwood Hospital completes with access to nature at its heart

Hospital bosses and contractors are celebrating the completion of the new Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot, a world-class new facility, which will offer planned, non-emergency care to patients in Berkshire and beyond.

The new £98m Heatherwood Hospital, 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 11,500 sq m new 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.  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.

BDP has made the most of the hospital’s 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 BDP team has taken an integrated holistic approach to the design of both the masterplan and the hospital.

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 through put 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 BDP 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.

BDP civil engineers developed an innovative approach to address the challenge of the sloping site by repurposing soil excavated for landscaping on site. 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, designers of the new Heatherwood Hospital and wider master plan, 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, Chief executive, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust commented: “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. I am so proud of all our staff who’ve been involved in the new building, against the backdrop of a global pandemic and the most challenging times in our hospitals, it is a tremendous achievement that they have still delivered on such a major project.

“I’d also like to say a huge thank you to Kier and BDP for all of their hard work to get us to this stage. This will be one of the best planned care hospitals in the NHS, using technology and innovation to provide the best treatments and experience for our patients.”

Louisa Finlay, Director of Clients and Markets for Kier Construction, added:  “Heatherwood hospital is vitally important to the Ascot community and we are incredibly proud to have transformed it, with first-class facilities that will help Frimley NHS Foundation Trust and its staff effectively treat patients. This is the latest project we have delivered for the Trust and draws on both our technical excellence and experience in delivering healthcare facilities across London and the South of England.

“Delivering the new hospital at Heatherwood has been a truly collaborative effort and our trusted and local supply chain partners have yet again been integral to a successful handover.”

BDP’s extensive global healthcare design experience has led to their appointment as one of the partners on the government’s New Hospitals Programme to deliver 48 new hospitals in the UK by 2030.

Images of Heatherwood Hospital, Ascot, Berkshire. ©BDP

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