A ‘TOPPING out’ ceremony has been held to mark the building of a £34million surgical wards project reaching its highest point.

The ceremony, at the Jubilee Building at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, was attended by MP Jeremy Browne, Musgrove’s longest serving member of staff Theresa Chant and its newest, Viktor Hajos, and the hospital’s director of corporate planning and performance, David Allwright.

And the four of them tried their hand at bricklaying, using golden trowels.

Mr Allwright said: “This is the last big event before we open the Jubilee Building to patients in about a year’s time.

“The building has transformed the hospital’s skyline since work on the site started in March.

“Now the main structure is complete, we’ll be focusing our efforts on the highest quality design and layout of the ward areas, to deliver the very best patient care.”

The Jubilee Building, set to open late next year, will have 112 single, en-suite bedrooms – each with about three times the space of a standard bed on a Nightingale ward.

The facility will accommodate surgical patients currently cared for in some of the hospital’s oldest wards, dating from the Second World War.

Funding has come from savings made by Musgrove in recent years and a £12million loan from the NHS Bank.

Steve Tapson, regional director of developers BAM, said: “We’re celebrating two major events in the construction of the Jubilee Building – the topping out and the completion of the ‘mock up’ room, which will give stakeholders an insight into the exciting new patient environment to be created in the building.”

The ‘mock-up’ room has been created for hospital staff to try out the new working environment.

The project also includes a concourse, linking the Jubilee Building to the rest of the hospital with new facilities for patients, visitors and staff.