Gastroenterology patients are being treated in 5-star facilities after a £1million hospital ward transformation by Lindum BMS.

Staff and patients have returned to Dixon Ward at Lincoln County Hospital following a comprehensive refurbishment, which was completed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The work saw the 28-bed gastroenterology ward gutted and rebuilt into a 20 bed ward, with the addition of the Saxon Suite day unit to help treat patients without the need to be admitted for overnight stays.

All of the work was undertaken during an unprecedented time for the NHS and construction teams worked evenings and weekends to ensure the project was completed as quickly as possible.

As a result, it was finished in just 15 weeks and was handed over seven weeks ahead of schedule.

The revamped ward includes dedicated areas for staff to put on their personal protective equipment, making sure they are following all of the new infection prevention control guidance to be able to provide safe care for patients today and in the future.

Lindum contracts manager Paul Jenkinson said work brings the ward up to the latest HBN/HTM standards.

“The project involved a full strip out of the existing ward. We then constructed new metal stud partitions to form various office and nursing facilities and built masonry walls to form four new ensuites which included showers and drainage.

“All existing timber windows were replaced with aluminium frames and we upgraded metal gas systems and provided new lighting before decorating throughout.

“Communication was vital during this project. The site manager had daily meetings with hospital managers and a full project team meeting took place twice a week.

“The site team worked evenings and weekends to ensure that the project was completed as quickly as possible.”

Ward Sister, Cheryl Butler, said: “I am so proud of my team. Over the last seven months they have stuck together and supported each other while being moved to several locations around the hospital. Now, we have returned home to a ward that is simply the best for our patients and for staff too.

“It really has been a team effort to make sure that it really is perfect. Every member of the team has been involved and consulted on the changes.”

The Saxon Suite was named by Nurse Cadet, Eleanor Leslie, who researched the name Dixon as originating from the Anglo-Saxons.

Gastroenterologist, Dr Glenn Spencer, said: “This is a great new environment in which we can offer our patients the best quality care and provide our staff with the ward they deserve.”

Head of Gastroenterology, Dr Anthony Norman-Swift, added: “It is amazing to think this has all been done during the pandemic. Without the amazing collective team work from everyone involved this would never have been possible.

“Sister Butler has played a pivotal role in supporting the project and helping to pull it all together, while at the same time managing a busy COVID ward. The efforts everyone has gone to in order to make this happen cannot be overstated and our patients are the ones who will benefit most.”

The ward was officially opened by Deputy Chief Executive, Mark Brassington, shortly before the ward staff began transferring patients into the new bays and side rooms.

Chief Executive, Andrew Morgan, said: “There really has been a huge amount of work in such a reasonably short space of time to make this into a fantastic ward during the COVID-19 pandemic. It really is a credit to everyone involved, in what has been a very challenging year.”

The work was procured through the Pagabo construction framework. As the project was delivered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust benefited from fee free procurement via its Medium Works Framework.

Emma Hesbrook, Regional Relationship Manager at Pagabo, said: “It’s fantastic to see this project completed and ready seven weeks ahead of schedule! A refurbishment of this scale was never going to be easy in the current climate, but Lindum’s BMS team have managed this project safely and at speed.

“I’m also proud that we were able to put the project through procurement quickly and without our usual fees. It’s important that everyone plays a part in the COVID-19 recovery effort and we will continue to offer this service for as long as we’re needed.”