£9m Leicester Neonatal Unit Opens

8 October 2010

The new £9m neonatal unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary has officially opened.

Capita Symonds provided full building services design, public health engineering, and energy & sustainability consultancy for the new P21 facility as part of a team led by Interserve. 

The new 1711sqm unit comprises a Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU); High Dependency Unit (HDU); Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU); 24 intensive and special-care cots; three parents' bedrooms; a play area; quiet rooms for parents; a reception and waiting room area; and new equipment. There also plans to expand the unit to care for a further 12 babies.

Approximately 10,500 babies are born every year in the surrounding Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland areas and about 1,600 of these will need special neonatal care. Housed on the second floor of the hospital’s Kensington Building, the new unit replaces an old and cramped neonatal unit which was previously housed on the fifth floor.

Martin Homer, Associate Electrical Director, Capita Symonds, says: “The unit features a range of innovative building services technologies that will help staff care for sick and vulnerable babies, such as new presence-detection automatic lighting controls and daylight-dimming, which not only help save energy within cot bay areas but also provide greater flexibility for staff since new born babies recover better in darker light. UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) and IPS (Isolated Power Supply) services to ITU/HDU cot areas will also guarantee continuity of power supply at all times.”

Ian Barnes, Associate Mechanical Director, Capita Symonds, says: “The works took place in a live working hospital environment so it was essential for the services design to manage various shutdowns by liaising with all department heads, infection control and design team members. One of the key aspects of the design infrastructure includes special ceiling mounted ‘pendants’ which house all the essential electrical services, medical gases, monitoring equipment and uninterruptible power supply to the cots.”

Other benefits designed by Capita Symonds include:

  • Reduction of heating energy requirements through heat recovery systems in the air handling units;
  • Excellent independent room user control to achieve specific temperatures;
  • Reduced heating costs with high seasonal efficiency boilers;
  • Controlled environment to clinical areas with new mechanical ventilation supply.

This scheme is aiming to achieve a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ – the highest rating achievable for a refurbishment scheme.