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Solar power

A new £69m Riverside ward building, which Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust claims is the first in the NHS to use a significant renewable energy source, has officially opened.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu opened the new wing of University Hospital Lewisham, which uses a photovoltaic panel on the roof of the building to generate electricity. The Riverside wing, which contains 419 adult and elderly inpatient beds, will replace the old Nightingale-style wards with new single rooms and four-bedded bay units. The new block also includes additional theatres, an endoscopy suite, a large booked admissions unit and an integrated critical care unit for our seriously ill patients.

The weaving “S” shape of the Ravensbourne River led to the design of an “S”-shaped building which maximised use of the space available for the new hospital. The curved nature of the building meant that each internal room was not square, resulting in the need to carefully plan the position of beds, storage space, worktops and equipment. The procurement, delivery and installation of 76 separate equipment packages, which comprised a total of 6,000 separate pieces of equipment, presented a logistical challenge that had to be planned and managed early. This was in addition to the 40 standard construction type packages that also had to be procured and managed.

“I am truly honoured and delighted to have been invited back to this great part of London, that I know so well, and to be allowed to take part in the opening of such an impressive health centre for this area,” said Tutu, who was a resident of the Lewisham Borough in the 1970s.