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Innovative 'Concept Ward' opens

25 May 2023

Dame Ruth May, in a mid blue nurses uniform, cuts a blue ribbon across the new concept ward corridor to mark the official opening. The blue ribbon is held taut by Isaac, one of our nurses, also in a dark blue tunic uniform. Behind them the white corridor is visable along with a photographer taking a photograph of the cutting. 

The Chief Nursing Officer for England today (Thursday, 25 May) opened an innovative ward at the James Paget University Hospital which gives an insight into the way inpatient healthcare could be delivered in the future.

Dame Ruth May cut the ribbon at the entrance to the new ‘Concept Ward’, which can accommodate 28 patients, mainly in single rooms with en-suite facilities.

The ward has been developed following extensive engagement with clinical and non-clinical teams at the Trust - and provides an opportunity for staff and patients to experience a modern healthcare environment ahead of a new hospital being built at Gorleston by 2030.

There are 20 single en-suite bedrooms in the ward, along with two four-bedded bays. There’s a patient day room and garden area, as well as staff rest room and kitchen and changing facilities.

The spacious en-suite rooms give patients greater privacy, feature a large window for natural light and will come with a fold-up bed so that a patient can have a loved-one stay overnight.

An advanced nurse call system means that patients can speak directly with staff at the touch of a button on a bedside console.

In the main corridor, the central nurses’ station has been replaced with a series of ‘touch points’ which means that ward staff can look into several rooms from one place, which also acts as a work station.

The £15 million ward has been funded by the Department of Health and Social Care - and, in addition to providing the latest patient care facilities, it also provides a ‘decant’ location where a whole ward of patients can be moved while an on-going programme of estates maintenance continues across the site.

A plaque that was unveiled as part of the opening. It reads that it was designed and delivered by Health Spaces and that the Concept Ward was officially opened on 25 May 2023 by Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England.

The James Paget, which opened its doors more than 40 years ago, has reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) panels across its main building, which are the subject of a programme of survey and precautionary engineering work to ensure that the hospital remains safe until the new hospital is built.

James Paget Chief Nurse Paul Morris said: “When we were given the funding to create the ward, we saw that we had a golden opportunity to create something really innovative, involving our staff.

“Feedback from patients and staff using the ward will be key - and, as the facility is used in the coming months by different wards from across the hospital, we will build a rich picture from their experiences, to help inform ward design in our new hospital.”

The Concept Ward has been developed in conjunction with healthcare design and construction experts Health Spaces, using time-saving modern methods of construction, with modules constructed at a factory while ground works were progressing on-site.

The ward will have a lifespan of 50 years and will form part of a brand new health campus, which includes a proposed Diagnostic Assessment Centre, housing the latest X-Ray, CT and MRI scanners. These buildings will sit alongside the new hospital, currently scheduled to be operational by 2030.

A large group of staff gather in the main corridor of the new ward area to see and hear the official opening. The photo is taken from a high-up angle looking back down the corridor, with a sea of smiling faces.