IT HAS been described as the end of an era.
Work has begun at St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth to demolish one of the main buildings on the site.
Builders yesterday started tearing down the old two-storey outpatients’ department at the hospital in Milton as part of NHS Portsmouth’s plans to transform the site into a new £18.6m health campus.
The rundown building, built in the 1960s, will be demolished within a month to make way for the new car park and part of the main entrance to the health campus.
Dr Jim Hogan, who leads the Portsmouth GP Commissioning Consortium – the GP group which will eventually take over healthcare budgets from the primary care trusts – boarded the Caterpillar to officially start the demolition work.
He said: ‘This is the end of an era and the start of the rebirth of this site.
‘The health campus is a huge opportunity for the city to have a community facility that will deliver care well into the future. It’s an exciting project.’
Construction company BAM will carry out the work.
The old outpatients’ building will be the only one to be demolished – others on site will be refurbished and modernised.
A third of the site will become the new health campus, while the remainder, which is owned by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, will be sold and could become housing.
The health campus will include services such as a new midwife-led birth centre to replace the temporary one on site, an elderly assessment and treatment centre, a GP-led intermediate care ward; outpatient service, a podiatry clinic, speech and language therapy, phlebotomy and a physiotherapy department.
Catherine Webster, NHS Portsmouth’s project manager for the health campus development, said: ‘The difference between the new health campus and the existing hospital is the health campus will be a modern, state-of-the-art new facility, offering services to the local population in the city.’
The first milestone of the health campus, which will open next year, was reached back in January when the outpatients’ department was moved to a newly-refurbished part of the site.