The inpatient ward at Rutland Memorial Hospital has been reopened this week (6 March 2023) following a £1.5m refurbishment.

The 18-bed ward relocated temporarily to Loughborough last August so contractors could carry out the work.

It has involved replacing gas boilers, remodelling patient bays, improving the flooring, removing asbestos and redecorating

Two of the longest-serving members of staff had the honour of cutting the ribbon to reopen the ward.

Sue Hudson, a registered nurse with 33 years’ service at the hospital, said: “It is going to give patients a better quality of stay.

“It looks more spacious and a is better environment for them.”

Ruth Edwards has spent 22 years on the ward, initially as a healthcare support worker, now as its ward clerk. She said: “It is amazing. It is modern, it is lighter and it is warmer. The patients will love it.”

Some parts of the project were delayed when ducks set up a nest in the garden courtyard close to some of the construction work. It is illegal to disturb a bird’s nest.

The upgrade included:

  • Replacing old boilers with more modern and efficient boilers;
  • New sections of roof to prevent leaks;
  • Remodelling of patient areas to lower ceilings giving a warmer feel;
  • Replacing net curtains with wipeable blinds;
  • Replacing worn and lumpy carpets in staff areas with more hygienic flooring;
  • Removing asbestos from roof areas;
  • Installing more efficient LED lighting, included sensor-activated lights in staff areas;
  • Upgrading the staff room, staff kitchen, and creation of a staff changing area;
  • Rewiring including the installation of a new patient call system and a new fire alarm system;
  • Creating new storage space;
  • Installing new handbasins;
  • Repairing the kitchen where patient meals are prepared;
  • A thorough redecoration.

The ward relocated to Loughborough because of the scale of work being carried out. It generated noise and dust, and involved disconnecting the electricity frequently. Mandy Steele, the ward’s matron, said: “I would like to thank the staff for their flexibility in travelling further and longer so that they could continue providing essential healthcare to patients.

“I would also add that we appreciate that many relatives had longer journeys to visit patients, although where possible we treated Rutland patients closer to home at our sites in Melton and Market Harborough.”

The work was managed by LPT’s framework contractor, Tilbury Douglas.

The hospital was opened in 1924 as a memorial to those who fought and died in the First World War. It is one of the oldest buildings owned by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust.