Groundworks have begun on the site of a new hospital in Kent.
After years of planning, contractor, Kier, has moved onto the site of the new Hythe and Dibden War Memorial Hospital.
Commissioned by NHS Property Services and designed by ArchitecturePLB, the £8.6m transformation project will see the demolition of the existing hospital and construction of a new building on the site.
As well as a community hospital, the development will also include a two-storey, 1,664sq m health centre with GP surgery, dental surgery, and outpatient services, including audiology, gynaecology and physiotherapy.
And, to meet a national drive to increase access to diagnostics services delivered at community level; a new diagnostics suite inside the building will see X-ray services return to the hospital.
The mobile breast screening unit will also continue to visit the site, and plans are being worked up to bring other mobile units in, such as an MRI scanner, CT scanner as well as respiratory diagnostics such as spirometry and FE-NO testing.
Over the past weeks the site has been a hive of activity as the foundations and services for the new building and car park were put in place.
A time-lapse video released this week shows how the construction programme is progressing, and the installation of the steel structure in the next few weeks will be the first big visual step in showing the scale and position of the new hospital as its skeleton starts to take shape.
Once completed, current services in the hospital will move across into the new building.
Iain Smith, head of construction programme management at NHS Property Services, said: “We are delighted to see the hospital take shape as a sustainable and modern healthcare facility that will benefit the local community for generations to come.”
The original hospital opened as a memorial to people who lost their lives in the First World War and this will be taken forward into the new design, with plans for an etched concrete and glass memorial and images of the former hospital displayed in key areas.