Milestone for new Leeds hospitals as work gets under way
3 December 2020
The development of new state-of-the art hospitals serving Leeds and the wider region took a major step forward today with the start of demolition of old buildings on the Leeds General Infirmary site.
A digger broke into the roof of the Old Nurses’ Home building to mark the start of the five-year project to build a new adults hospital and a brand-new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital.
Watching the milestone was young liver transplant patient, seven-year-old Violet from York, who took part in a design competition for the new children’s hospital. Retired nurse Patricia Taylor who lived in the Old Nurses’ Home during her training at the hospital in the 1960s joined in the celebrations as they both waved green flags to signal the start of demolition.
The new adults hospital will deliver a range of health services including new day-case theatres and critical care facilities, and a new purpose-built children’s hospital, a first for Leeds bringing together services for children, young people, their families and carers.
Hospitals of the Future is one of six projects in the first wave of the UK Government’s Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP) - its national programme of healthcare capital investment. The new buildings will be designed to offer patients modern, individual healthcare based on the most advanced treatments, technologies, innovation and research.
Dame Linda Pollard, DL Hon.LLD, chair of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said the start of works on the new Hospitals of the Future project heralded a new chapter in healthcare for the people of Leeds and the wider region.
“We are thrilled that work on our new hospitals has officially begun in what will be a huge investment in healthcare for patients and staff. We’re one of the first new hospital projects to get to this stage, and this exciting long-term development will change the way we think about hospital care in the future.
“The new development will provide our patients and staff with some of the most modern and forward-thinking environments in which to receive and deliver some of the world’s most advanced care and treatments.
“It will also bring about the exciting regeneration of the city centre in Leeds through an Innovation District that brings together new jobs and expertise.”
Julian Hartley, Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, also welcomed the start of works. “These will be state-of-the-art patient-centred hospitals and everyone has worked really hard to get us to this point.
“I’m pleased that some of our young patients have been involved in coming up with ideas on the kind of hospital they would like to see, and we’ll be involving patients all along the way as we finalise the design and development over the coming year.”
Seven-year-old patient Violet from York took part in a competition for children to come up with designs on what kind of hospitals they would like to see and submitted a video of her ideas. “I am so thankful for all the care I receive at Leeds Children's Hospital and I am really excited to join in with these plans for the special new building which will make the hospital a happier, more child-friendly place for young patients like me," she said.
The original nurses home at Leeds General Infirmary was built in 1879 at a cost of £5,000 to meet the rising numbers of nurses working there. The current building was opened in October 1937 by the Princess Royal.
Patricia Taylor, who is President of the LGI Nurses League, was based in the old nurses’ home between 1961-64 when she did her training and said the plans for the new hospitals looked “absolutely fabulous”.
“Although it is sad to see the old building disappear, which holds a lot of memories for me, it will really make a difference to have brand-new buildings to provide care for people in modern times and I’m sure staff will enjoy working in such a nice environment,” she said.