Inside the UK’s Biggest Hospital

Millions of patients will benefit as Europe’s newest hospital, the £650m Royal London (part of Barts Health NHS Trust) opened its doors. Centre Stage was there to see its sterile services make the transition as the first key delivery partner to take up residence.

The historic move of 110 wards and departments from outdated facilities into new state-of-the-art premises in Whitechapel will allow patients to be treated in facilities that match the exceptional care for which the hospital has become renowned. The first moves into the new Royal London started in December 2011 and continued through to March 2012 and was one of the most complex hospital moves ever undertaken. A team of experts worked around the clock to organise the logistics involved for transporting employees, equipment and hundreds of patients.

Before patients even got close to the new hospital, the first key delivery partner was hard at work making sure the new sterile services department was running efficiently and compliant in time for external auditing. The Synergy facility, housed in the basement of the Royal London, serves the hospital’s new state-of-the-art theatres and is now decontaminating and sterilising the five million surgical instruments the Trust’s theatres will use each year. Selected by Capital Hospitals Limited, Synergy was one of the key delivery partners alongside Skanska, Carillion, Siemens and Varian but theirs is a continuation of a long relationship which saw sterile services provided to St. Bartholomew and the London Chest hospital as far back as May 2006.

Right at the heart of the transition were the 60 specialist sterile services staff - many of whom were employed by the Trust from long before services transferred to a temporary site in Islington in 2006. Training of new staff took up to 18 months and all staff had to undergo further training for fire safety and new equipment. NHS staff which transferred under TUPE included 33 technicians, five team leaders, six support staff and nine distribution staff who joined the team to bring the full unit complement to 60. They worked tirelessly to ensure that the transition to the new hospital was achieved without any disruption.

The Trust’s medical director Dr Steve Ryan said "Sterile services are critical to ensuring our surgeons and other healthcare professionals can rely on having the tools of their trade available through a safe, timely and traceable service and where patient safety features top of all agendas. By being located so close to our theatres we expect the sterile services unit to be able to provide an unrivalled service to our staff and - most importantly - our patients."

Matthew Watts, Antoinette Young and Ken McCartney, pictured above, were awarded “Going the Extra Mile” awards at the facility’s opening for their commitment and hard work.

The RLH at A Glance:

  • Occupying an area equivalent to 40 football pitches, the new hospital is one of the best-equipped and most comfortable in Europe
  • The scale of diagnostic care has been doubled, thanks to more equipment and facilities
  • More than 40% of the ward accommodation will be provided in single rooms with en-suite facilities, with the remainder In roomy four-bedded bays, also with en-suite bathrooms
  • The 26 new state-of-the-art theatres are a third larger
  • Patient accommodation benefits from light and views over the City and Canary Wharf
  • Wards have separate treatment rooms for minor procedures and there will be increased isolation facilities. including negative and positive pressure rooms to prevent the spread of infections
  • Over a period of 12 weeks, more than 3000 staff and patients moved into the brand new 17-storey edifice
  • Alongside 11.000 boxes, 52.000 pieces of new furniture and equipment were installed in the new hospital, along with more than 1000 toilets





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