An official turf cutting ceremony marking the beginning of the building of a new £2.4m aerial walkway which will link Weston Park Cancer Centre to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital took place today (Friday 15th February).
Kirsten Major, Interim Chief Executive for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was joined by staff from across both hospital sites to cut the first turf at the ceremony.
The new glass walkway, which has been sympathetically fabricated to blend in with the existing skyline, will enable patients to be directly transferred across to the Hallamshire Hospital and vice versa without the need to be transported by an ambulance or taxi. This will mean staff will not have to wait for transport to be available before they can transfer patients between the two hospitals.
The £2.4m investment is part of a wider programme to transform cancer services and facilities which serve Sheffield, the wider region and indeed nationally. The ambitious programme has so far seen investment in a £7m ward refurbishment programme, the creation of a dedicated Weston Park Assessment Unit, a £1.64m interim outpatients department and last month, plans for a new £3.6m pharmacy aseptic unit were also approved. Thanks to a £500,000 ‘Beyond the Treatment’ fundraising appeal led by Weston Park Cancer Charity there have also been numerous other enhancements which are helping to ensure patients feel as comfortable as possible whilst receiving cancer care.
Kirsten Major, Interim Chief Executive for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We already have a walkway linking the Jessop Wing with the Hallamshire Hospital and so the new link to Weston Park completes the connections across all three sites. It means we can transfer patients in a timely, convenient, dignified and safe way without patients having to go outside and for our staff it provides a safe, easy and quicker link to use rather than having to walk outside.”
Dr Trish Fisher, Clinical Director for Weston Park Cancer Centre, said: “We are delighted to mark the start of the new aerial walkway construction with this ground breaking ceremony. Our specialist staff and supporters have worked tremendously hard to get us to this point, and it is an important part in the overall transformation of facilities at Weston Park Cancer Centre.”
Samantha Dixon, Chief Executive Officer for Weston Park Cancer Charity, said: “We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has supported our commitment to go ‘Beyond the Treatment’ and enhance the patient experience at Weston Park Cancer Centre. We’re proud of what we have achieved and look forward to working alongside Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to create a better life for cancer patients locally.”
The walkway will enter on the second floor of Weston Park Cancer Centre and on the third floor of the Jessop Maternity Wing. The works are expected to be completed at the end of 2019.
Weston Park Cancer Centre is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for cancer care and research, and the home to one of only four dedicated cancer hospitals in England. Its work is supported by Weston Park Cancer Charity and Sheffield Hospitals Charity, with the Centre treating and caring for patients from all over South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire and North Derbyshire and further afield.