TWO major projects at Musgrove Park Hospital are moving forward.

The hospital has announced that planning permission for its new surgical centre and a new acute assessment hub has been granted by Somerset West and Taunton Council.

These ‘significant steps’ mean the projects can move on to some more visible aspects, such as building work.

The surgical centre will include state-of-the-art operating theatres, a critical care unit and an endoscopy suite. It will improve patient experience as it will replace much of Musgrove’s ageing 1940s buildings where some of the most critically ill people in Somerset are cared for.

Critical care services will be provided in a modern, high quality and adaptable building that’s able to meet the future needs of patients as medicine and healthcare make further advances.

The original hospital was built during the Second World War as a temporary casualty evacuation hospital for the D-Day landings, but has become increasingly difficult to maintain.

Early building works will commence in mid-August to prepare the hospital site for the start of the main construction in early 2022.

The new plans for the acute assessment hub will move the unit closer to the hospital’s emergency department, which will mean faster access to consultants and surgeons, as well as quicker assessments.

It’s expected to be completed in early 2022.

The contract for the acute assessment hub relocation was signed last week so our contractor, Kier, has begun preparation work with a view to starting the main building works in mid-August.

The work will take approximately two years to complete and will also involve a new three storey building for our therapies department. This will be in place of the Q-Park lodge, which was relocated earlier in the month to the opposite end of the Duchess Building.

Dr Daniel Meron, chief medical officer, said he was pleased with the progress of the surgical centre and acute assessment hub developments.

“We are excited about being able to care for and treat our patients in state-of-the-art operating theatres and critical care facilities, as well as providing more rapid assessment for patients who need surgery” he said.

“It’s particularly exciting that we are now starting to see the early building works taking place ahead of the main construction, which will begin over the next couple of years.”