PROSPER MAGAZINE: ISSUE 01 | MIDLAND METROPOLITAN HOSPITAL
GREEN SHOOTS APPEARING ON HOSPITAL HORIZON
WRITES BEVERLEY NIELSON, WITH THE BIGGEST A&E DEPARTMENT IN EUROPE; 670 BEDS AND 13 OPERATING THEATRES
It was a huge shock to the Black Country and it’s business community when Carillion collapsed.
Headquartered in Wolverhampton the company left not only a pile of debt but, as the main contractor for the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital, their demise led to a massive hole in construction plans for this shiny new beacon of integrated healthcare overseen by the board of Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Hospitals Trust.
Since Carillion’s collapse at the start of 2018, works have now recommenced. The Trust named Balfour Beatty as the preferred bidder to complete the building, so vital to the wellbeing of our community and due to open in 2022.
As a member of the Midland Met Fundraising Campaign Leadership Committee, headed up by Peter Salt of Salts Healthcare, we are acutely aware of the need for this new hospital. Parts of Sandwell and West Birmingham suffer from some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country, with Sandwell in the top 4% most deprived local authorities in England (EID, 2015).
The health needs of the local population (PHE, 2016) include:
Infant mortality rates are 67% higher than the national average, and 28% of under 16s live in poverty
3 in 5 boys aged 5 - 11 are predicted to be overweight or obese by 2020 (OHA, 2016)
One in three people have a long-term condition affecting their lives - for example, recorded diabetes is +34% higher than the national average
Black and minority ethnic groups have poorer access to health, with a higher percentage attending emergency services
Adult physical inactivity is rated amongst the worst in the UK
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS employ over 6,000 people, responsible for the care of 530,000 people from across North & West Birmingham and Sandwell; one in six patients are children.
Over 5,500 babies are born in the area each year, with almost 710,000 outpatients seen by staff. Over 200,000 patients attend the hospital’s emergency departments last year - almost a 5% rise on the previous year.
In response to this, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust set out major changes in service provisions.
Identifying the need to prioritise acute services into one, centralised, fit-for-purpose, technologically advanced premises, enables all the services to be better located in the community and improve care.
Plans for the new hospital emerged and a site identified for the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital bringing together emergency and acute healthcare for both adults and children onto a single site.
Located on 16.76 acres of the former GKN site at Grove Lane, Smethwick, this project is transforming this brownfield land into 80,000 m2 of new hospital space.
The A&E department - one of the biggest in Europe - will replace emergency care facilities at City Hospital, and Sandwell A&E will become an Urgent Care Centre. It will be the nearest adult hospital to the centre of Birmingham.
It is a massive undertaking affecting thousands of lives and representing a major capital investment of over £475m. The Midland Met will provide the capacity to support 200,000 patients per year. It will house the highest quality facilities to provide the best patient experience – more than 670 beds and 13 operating theatre suites, as well as modern diagnostic equipment, sustaining top quality, acute services for an increasing population seven days a week.
The Midland Met will also provide significant regeneration opportunities contributing to improving the health of the local community with almost 50% of this population aged 29 or younger - representing the need to generate future employment opportunities for young people not in education, training or employment. The area ranks 1st in England for the number of residents born outside of the UK - recognising that stronger social cohesion links need to be created.
It also ranks 2nd in England for the highest number of private rented households - highlighting a need to generate greater wealth and opportunity for large numbers of people living here.
Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust’s registered charity arm, Your Trust Charity, has committed to a fundraising campaign of a minimum £2million.
The vision is to make Midland Met not just a hospital, but a community hub. The campaign, which I am proud to be involved with, is looking to secure funds, with plans to deliver benefits from the new hospital site for people across our local community and adding to the experience of patients, their carers, visitors and staff.
The campaign envisages offering additional galleries, exhibition space, gardens and play areas within the Midland Met hospital site, giving all visitors a place to reflect and relax.
A 5th-floor winter garden will hold performances, lectures and seminars engaging with the local community through a summer concert programme.
Modern, comfortable furnishings and facilities, exceeding NHS specifications, will be provided for outpatients and the paediatrics department will house custom-made vinyl artworks - designed by local schoolchildren - to inspire and engage young visitors and inpatients.
The campaign will also raise funds to add extra research nurses, pharmacists and analysts over the next five years to pioneer new treatments at the new Midland Met.
The opportunity is to now do more than NHS resources alone can enable, by adding to and enhancing the visitor and community experience.
We want this to be the best new hospital in the country and more importantly to help improve the life expectations for thousands of people across the Black Country who are not getting their fair share.
Cllr Beverley Nielsen is Associate Professor, Institute for Design & Economic Acceleration, IDEA, at Birmingham City University and a member of the Midland Metropolitan Hospital Fundraising Campaign Leadership Committee.
If you would like to get involved and support our Midland Met fundraising campaign, please call the team on 0121 507 5196 or email below.