Staff from Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU) and contractors involved in the project came together to mark the topping out of the new Emergency Department (ED) at Queen Alexandra Hospital. The department is due to open later this year, ahead of winter. Watched by staff and supporters from PHU and Integrated Health Projects (IHP) – a joint venture between VINCI Building and Sir Robert McAlpine – who are supporting the delivery of the project, Penny Emerit, Chief Executive at PHU; Mark Orchard, Chief Financial Officer at PHU; and Jason Griffiths, Regional Director at VINCI Building all left a lasting impression as they printed their hands in wet cement. These markings have now been built into the structure of the building.

Construction on the Emergency Department began in March 2023 and once complete, will along with work to improve patient pathways across the hospital, help tackle some of the long-standing challenges we know patients using our current Emergency Department face. The project is supported by £58 million of national funding and will provide a range of improved facilities for adults and children using the department including additional resus capacity and faster access to diagnostics. It will also provide a more enjoyable environment  for our teams to work in including training and meeting space.

Dr Pete Russell, Clinical Director of the Emergency Department at PHU, said, “Our Emergency Department first opened in 1979 and since then we have seen the levels of demand for urgent and emergency care grow significantly. All our teams are incredibly excited about the opportunities this new department will bring by providing high-quality facilities and care space that our patients deserve.

“We know that no one wants to have to use an Emergency Department, so want to ensure we have the right plans in place internally and with other NHS and social care partners, to provide the best possible experience to those who need us.”

The new department will include space dedicated to the appropriate support of patients with mental health concerns, as well as quiet areas for loved ones. Patients visiting the ED will also predominantly be treated in single rooms rather than shared bays as seen in our existing department.

Penny Emerit, Chief Executive at PHU, said, “It’s fantastic to see such great progress with the development of our new Emergency Department and walking around the site you can already tell it will have such a positive impact on the experience of people who use and work within the department.

“This facility has been years in the making and it’s because of the hard work of our teams, communities, and supporters that it will become a reality. We’ve still got a way to go, but it’s great to see how quickly the building is coming together, so a big thank you to everyone involved.”

You can read more about this and the other developments taking place across our sites on our website, where you can also see a fly through video of what the final department will look like.