Southmead Hospital, UK

Delivering Real Benefits.

The North Bristol NHS Trust is a specialist acute trust offering a broad range of healthcare services to a local population of approximately 400,000.  The Trust also offers a range of specialist regional services including neurosciences, burns and plastic surgery, orthopaedics, pathology and renal services. 

The Trust employs nearly 8,500 staff and is a teaching trust with strong links with the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England.  Its main commissioners include Bristol Primary Care Trust, South Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust and North Somerset Primary Care Trust, although it cares for patients from throughout the South West, Wales and Gloucestershire regions.

Launched by the Trust in 2007, the Southmead Hospital PFI Redevelopment Project was a component of the Bristol Health Service Plan (BHSP) – a healthcare strategy that aimed to rationalise and modernise health services and hospital facilities in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.  The BHSP identified that local health services in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire were facing a number of challenges in relation to the quality of patient care and unnecessary cost pressures within local services.  These problems included:  old and substandard quality buildings; poor configuration of acute services on the existing sites around Bristol; poor access for patients; poor environment; and difficulties in responding to national requirements.

The Project involved the consolidation of the acute services provided at previously existing Trust sites at the old Southmead and Frenchay Hospitals onto a single site.  The Project’s key aim was to provide a modern acute hospital enabling clinicians to provide efficient, high quality, specialist care in a well-planned environment.  Concentrating acute services onto a single site was designed to avoid unnecessary duplication and to enable clinicians to make rapid and effective decisions in consultation with colleagues in allied fields.  Community facilities - including rehabilitation beds, outpatients, minor injury care and diagnostic facilities - are also integrated at Southmead.

The proposed redevelopment, including the new Hospital, was also accompanied by a major restructuring of health systems and modernisation of health processes.  This change was governed by a clinical strategy that was developed as part of the BHSP and included the following main principles:

  • Enhancement of Primary Care:  Enhance and develop the role of primary care as the principle orchestrator of patients’ care;
  • Joined-up Hospital and Community Services:  Achieve better outcomes by joining up hospital, community and social care services more effectively, facilitated by the use of technology including the National Care Record Service;
  • Concentration of Acute Services:  More rapid and effective decision-making, and an increase in the quality, flexibility and speed of throughput, achieved by a concentration of acute and specialist resources and expertise in a smaller number of places;
  • Patient Empowerment:  Support and encouragement of patients and carers to make informed decisions regarding their health and condition and to be full partners in the development and delivery of care plans;
  • Rapid Access and Rapid Throughput:  Provide patients with treatment as soon as they are clinically ready and without needing to wait in queues for a diagnosis or treatment.  Immediate expert assessment provided to patients with acute problems when required, leading to better health outcomes, more efficiency and prevention of crises;
  • Harmonisation of Approach:  Equity of access for patients achieved by a more systematic approach across the community, including the adoption of joint protocols by community providers and Social Services;
  • Case Management:  An integration of assessment and planning processes for all patients (irrespective of the part of the health system to which they relate) to ensure a co-ordination of their care by staff who have been allocated responsibility for them;
  • Flexibility:  Services designed to have the ability to flex and change in response to changes in technology, service approach and overall clinical process, as well as being responsive to local needs and national drivers;
  • Shared Governance:  Shared governance arrangements to support the models of care with an emphasis on enabling patients to move smoothly between services regardless of organisation.

The hospital and associated site has an area of approximately 115,000 sqm, and consists of:

  • 800 acute beds (including a 32-bed integrated community hospital), 75% of which are in single rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities;
  • 24 theatre suites;
  • a new Accident & Emergency department;
  • multi-storey car parks providing 1,100 spaces and 400 other car parking areas; and
  • a helipad.