Alder Hey Hospital Unveiled

The new £237m Alder Hey Children’s Hospital building was unveiled to the world for the first time on 1st October 2015 after a two-year construction project to create one of the best paediatric hospitals in the world.

The new building, known as Alder Hey in the Park because it is located on part of West Derby’s Springfield Park, contains 270 beds and 16 operating theatres.

Most people have a firm ideas of what a hospital is like but the team designing the new Children’s Hospital at Alder Hey in Liverpool put all pre-conceptions aside and determined to design something genuinely new, radical and patient friendly. Even the name “Hospital” wasn’t good enough. They designed a “Health Park” where the hospital is integrated into its parkland surroundings.

The new Alder Hey was built after patients were asked to send in their design ideas. Eleanor Brogan, now in her early 20s, whose drawing of a flower when she was a 14-year-old heart patient inspired much of the look of the new building, said: “When I drew my picture seven years ago, I didn’t expect I would play such an important part in the design of the new Alder Hey.

“Since then I have been involved in many amazing design decisions and I’m really excited to show the facility to some of the patients who are going to benefit from this fantastic new hospital.”

There will be 48 beds in the intensive care, high-dependency and burns units of the new 51,000-square-metre Alder Hey. And 70% of patients will be given private, en-suite rooms rather than the 18 bed Nightingale wards of the old Alder Hey Hospital and there’s an outdoor balcony overlooking the park on each floor. The importance of light and airiness was absolutely vital to the whole design concept and this meant the doors for each of the patient’s rooms had to be very special. Each had to be large for ease of access for beds and equipment, glazed for brightness and airiness, have privacy blinds for examinations or just occasional solitude, and finally they had to be easily opened and closed – by a child.

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One or two of these features can be achieved by door suppliers without too many problems but finding a door that met them all was a major project. After an extensive search, only one company came up with an effective, practical solution and that was the manual Flo-Motion® door by Axis Automatic Entrance Systems Limited based in Northampton.

Doors up to 1800mm wide and 2700mm high are not that excessive, even for glazed doors, however, the specification was for Venetian blinds to be integrated into the doors for infection control and to avoid expensive cleaning and maintenance, BetweenGlassBlinds was approached as they are the market-leading integral blinds suppliers and have an excellent track record on projects no matter how big or small. The BGB units were sealed between two panes of glass with magnetic controls to avoid an “infection bridge” into the glazing gap. The extra-large, easy opening, glazed sliding doors have transformed the way single rooms work and by fitting them with the integrated BetweenGlassBlinds, delivers healthcare environments with the choice of privacy or social interaction when required without the loss of clinical observation.

As well as the 200+ manual Flo-Motion® doors, Axis also installed 11 large Manusa automatic doors with hermetic seals for infection control. Just as with the manual doors, the design required very large double glazed doors nearly 2.5 metres high with double glazed units incorporating BGB’s integral privacy blinds.

Louise Shepherd, chief executive of Alder Hey, said: “From the beginning we have strived to create a world-class healing environment that will benefit children and young people from across the UK and throughout the world.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create something really special for our patients, families and staff – a dedicated healthcare facility providing the very best treatment and care to thousands of children and young people.”