The High Sherriff of Gloucestershire and Vice Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire were the latest high profile visitors to the site of the new community hospital for the Forest of Dean on Wednesday (Feb 22).
Air Marshall Sir Graham Anthony Miller and Roger Deeks visited the site in Steam Mills Road, Cinderford, where building work on the new 24-bed hospital is well underway.
Also in the visiting party were Julia Gooch, Chair of Forest of Dean District Council, and Viv Hargreaves, Chair of Trustees at Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra.
Nurses Sarah Jones and Julie Blackwell were there to meet them, as well as Ingrid Barker, chair of Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.
The party were able to tour the whole site, with the occasional downpour failing to deter a trip up to the roof and were able to start matching the building progress to departments and rooms on the site layout.
Sir Graham said: “So often we expect professionals to perform but we put them in buildings which don’t support them.
“So this is a great opportunity to rebalance that and allow the NHS to deliver a really professional service in great surroundings. It’s terrific – and as a potential future patient I’m all for it!”
The steel frame of the hospital has been finished and work is underway on the external walls. A specialised fire-resistant paint is being added to columns and beams which helps maintain the safety and structure of the building in the event of fire.
Internally, fittings are being installed including underfloor heating and pipework and the ducting for the high voltage and communication cables.
Outside the car park has also taken shape, with the first coat of tarmac laid, as well as the majority of kerbs and parking bay formations.
Forest District Council chair Julia Gooch said: “It feels very big! It feels close to nature and it’s going to be great to have individual rooms.
“I think when it’s open people will start to appreciate just how good it is to have a new hospital here.”
Building work on the new hospital should be complete by the end of the year. The Trust will then clean and equip the building, ready for opening in 2024. It is being built as a replacement for Dilke Memorial Hospital and Lydney and District Hospital.