Southend University Hospital

Southend University Hospital

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Southend University Hospital redevelops the main entrance and reception area to enhance patient experience.

Steve McIntosh, consultant with Grice Collins Long worked closely with hospital to finacially manage the project. Private companies provided the required investment, and work started on the project. This produced many benefits including a more efficient outpatient department.

Letting: Southend University Hospital

The hospital's main entrance was looking very dated and shabby, and it was difficult to maintain and keep clean. This appearance continued inside, where the atmosphere was far removed from the clinical and professional one intended. Despite a record for excellent patient care, there was a concern that the atmosphere generated by an aging estate would result in a poor patient experience. To address this, more than a coat of paint would be required and initial costs estimates had put the proposed works at around £3m.

Despite the track record of being finacially well-managed; competing priorities and the wider NHS financial picture meant that this scheme was unaffordable. However, doing nothing was not an option, and an innovative method of funding the project needed to be found.

One idea was to invite bids from private companies to provide the required investment, in return for a lease of the retail areas. In due course bidders were invited to evaluate the space and submit their proposals along with a business plan showing initial investment amortised over a number of years via expected rental. A preferred bidder was selected on the basis of the initial bids, and after completion of the legal agreements, work began on site.

The benefits afforded by this innovative arrangement include:

  • A modern environment that immediately gives the impression of clinical excellence
  • An improved retail offering for patients, visitors and staff
  • Newly-refurbished public and clinical areas that are free from backlog work
  • Improved scores in patient surveys and PEAT assessment
  • Improved patient confidentially and assurance of dignity and respect
  • A more efficient main outpatient department

These benefits were achieved at very little cost to the Trust who only had to pick-up its own internal management and legal costs. It was possible to initiate and explore this procurement route without significant commitment of resources or risk to the Trust; until it was clear that it was a suitable route.