Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the largest provider of acute hospital services in Surrey, found waiting lists for ophthalmic surgery had built up since the start of the year, and wanted to implement a temporary solution that would enable waiting lists to be reduced quickly and safely.

It was important that surgery could take place without the crossing of pathways between the patients on the unit and those treated within the main hospital, and this, in combination with the fact the hospital’s own theatre used for ophthalmic surgery required refurbishing, led to a decision to create a complex that is completely stand alone.

The resulting solution, provided by Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, involves three separate units – two mobile laminar flow theatres and a modular patient reception, ward and staff welfare facility – that are connected together to form a complete visiting hospital.

Using several individual units meant the design phase of the project was relatively complex. Alongside utilities connections and other practical considerations, efficient patient flows and patient comfort were also key. The aim was to achieve the internal look and feel of a more permanent facility.

The two operating theatres are connected to each other and attached via a purpose-built corridor to the support facility containing the ward module; which consists of 6 bedspaces, a dirty and clean utility, toilets, storage, staff welfare, a nursing station and patient reception area. The facility has its own entrance and exit providing patient access to the outside.

The temporary complex is situated on the Ashford hospital site, where the majority of the Trust’s planned day-case and orthopaedic surgery takes place. However, the visiting hospital is not connected to the hospital in any way; patients arrive directly onto the unit and are discharged from the unit after their procedure. This bespoke solution critically ensures that the complex remains ‘green’ or Covid-free.

The visiting hospital will be in place for an initial duration of 6 months, and is expected to be in use 5 days a week, allowing the trust to substantially reduce waiting lists for cataract and other types of ophthalmic surgery.

Simon Squirrell, National Sales Manager at Vanguard Healthcare Solutions said:

“We’re pleased to support Ashford & St Peters NHS Foundation Trust in dealing with rising waiting lists by providing a bespoke solution. The design and layout of the facility illustrates the flexibility of Vanguard’s solutions and how individual units can be combined to create a completely stand-alone solution, tailored to the hospital’s specific needs”

Stephen Hepworth, Director of Planning and Contracting at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:

“It’s great to have the new facility up and running in such a short space of time. We’ve been impressed with the speed at which the project was completed, and the process so far has been very smooth. The Vanguard team has been very engaged and professional throughout.”

The new visiting hospital opened to patients in early November.