The new hospital is located in the former mining town of Ystrad Mynach, five miles north of Caerphilly. Covering an area of 31,000 sq m, it is the largest new hospital to be built in Wales for 30 years. The scheme was delivered by BAM Construction through the ‘Designed for Life: Building for Wales’ framework and replaces the services of a number of older community hospitals including Caerphilly District Miners Hospital.
The four storey hospital contains 227 single en suite bedrooms split across seven wards. Facilities include an integrated care centre, diagnostic and treatment centre, integrated therapies including palliative care, local emergency centre and short stay beds. A midwifery-led birthing centre with six beds, mental health services and non-clinical support is also provided.
The building’s ‘zigzag’ plan is influenced by the functional and spatial requirements of the single bedrooms. This arrangement maximises the availability of sunlight and enables the majority of rooms to have the benefit of views across the Rhymney Valley. Sited beside the River Rhymney, the hospital is designed to ensure it can remain in operation in the event of flooding. The main hospital concourse and clinical accommodation is located one floor above the floodplain and the space underneath conceals a 630 space car park.
The design ensures that energy is used efficiently to reduce the running costs of the hospital. The building has its own biomass boiler and utilises mixed mode ventilation, contributing to a NEAT ‘Excellent’ rating. The hospital was commissioned through the Gwent Clinical Futures Programme which proposed a fundamental reorganisation of clinical services within the area. This is the second of a new generation of local general hospitals completed through the ‘Designed for Life: Building for Wales’ framework agreement.
Associate, Lindsay Gibbon of Nightingale Associates’ Cardiff Studio said: “Central to the development of the hospital is the inclusion of 100% single room accommodation. One of the key advantages of single bedrooms is that it is an effective barrier to the spread of hospital infections and gives patients greater privacy.
“The vision for the site was based on the concept of the healing environment. The design sought to maximise the path of the sun and maximise levels of natural daylight. Research has shown that high levels of natural light may contribute to reducing lengths of stay in hospitals and provide increased levels of satisfaction in the workplace.” The hospital was handed over in September 2011 and patients have now moved in.