Pick Everard finishes work on £14.5m children’s heart unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary

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An independent construction consultancy has played a key part in moving a threatened children’s heart unit to a new £14.5 million unit.

Pick Everard worked closely with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to move the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre from Glenfield Hospital to its new home at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Until a few years ago the centre was threatened with closure, but it was saved from the axe following a long-running campaign by service users, staff and members of the public.

It has been relocated from Glenfield to be part of the larger Leicester Children’s Hospital on the LRI campus.

It comes after the hospitals trust won £450 million from the government to build a new maternity and children’s hospital.

The relocation has taken place over three phases of construction, with the first and biggest element being a new-build extension to the Kensington Building to house the cardiac outpatient’s department, new cardiac theatre and a new hybrid catheter lab.

Pick Everard provided principal designer services for all the work, and electrical and mechanical design services for part of it.

It also worked on infrastructure in the Kensington Building.

Joshua Sandbach, project manager at Pick Everard, said: “We’re really proud to have facilitated such an important project, ensuring a high-spec central treatment centre for congenital heart services.

“Working within the client’s team has been a real key to the successful delivery of this project due to the pressures and unpredictability brought on by the pandemic and Brexit.

“There have, of course, been a number of challenging points, but we have now created a truly considerate facility that meets the users’ needs and exceeds their expectations.”

The second phase of work included a new cardiac ward on the first floor of the existing Kensington Building, designed to allow parents to stay close to their children during treatment and hospital stays. It includes four bedrooms for parents to use.

The final phase of work saw the installation of the new paediatric intensive care unit (PICU), on the fifth floor of the Kensington Building.

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As the new heart facility centres around the existing Kensington Building, it was necessary to relocate the services previously housed in that part of the hospital. Pick Everard helped refurbish two existing clinical areas on the LRI estate to re-house the maternity department and the gynaecology assessment and outpatients’ services.

Nigel Bond, deputy director of estates and facilities at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: “The relocation of EMCHC to the LRI secures this fantastic service for the people of Leicester and the East Midlands area.

“It also represents the first phase of what will become a standalone Children’s Hospital on the site. The people of Leicester fought a hard campaign to retain the service in this region, they can be proud of what has been achieved.

“Having Josh from Pick Everard embedded in our delivery team has been a delight and a significant contribution to the quality of the outcome. He has worked tirelessly with the clinical team, my staff and the contractors to ensure we got the building this service needs and deserves.”

Pick Everard partner Adrian Ceney said: “The importance of a healthy and supported start in life for children cannot be understated.

“We are really pleased to have delivered this particular project, which will provide that all-important start in life for those children born with health conditions, as well as ongoing support throughout their lives.

“Given that our head office is based in Leicester city centre, it is with tremendous pride that we have worked with our local NHS Trust to provide the highest quality of heart healthcare in the region, while also improving the environment that our healthcare heroes work within.

“We are confident that the new-look departments will serve their purpose for many years to come, and we look forward to seeing the services get up and running in the coming months.”

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Tom PegdenLeicester Mercury business editor