UCLH investing £104 million in new clinical facility

The building of a new UCLH clinical facility for services from the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNEH) and Eastman Dental Hospital (EDH) reached a milestone today when a patient from each hospital attended a ground breaking ceremony to mark the first day of construction.

RNTNEH patient Nick Coleman and EDH patient Liam Campling were joined by UCLH chairman Richard Murley, UCLH interim chief executive Neil Griffiths and Mace Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Construction Mark Castle to mark a new chapter in the history of the two hospitals which, together, go back more than 220 years.

Based on Huntley Street, on a site which has previously housed the Royal Ear Hospital and the UCL medical students union, the new facility will start a new era for ear, nose, throat and dental services in London. UCLH is investing £104 million in the state-of-the-art building, which will allow patients such as Mr Coleman and Mr Campling to receive integrated and multidisciplinary care.

Mr Coleman, who was diagnosed with sudden sensorineural hearing loss, commonly known as sudden deafness, has been a patient at the RNTNEH for 10 years. He said: “I love the people who looked after me. They saved my life. They helped make it worth living.”

Then a music journalist and critic, he found the overnight loss of his hearing devastating. But RNTNEH staff helped him understand and manage his complex clinical problems. “My whole life revolved around music and it went in an instant. But with help from the RNTNEH team I was able to start to create a scenario where there was a life ahead for me. And my powerful hearing aid means I now hear music rather better than I expected.”

Mr Campling was referred to the EDH for specialist treatment after a visit to his local dentist led him to discover he had lost the enamel on the back of his teeth. Having had healthy teeth and no problems previously, this came as a surprise to Mr Campling, who said: “They had gone to pot.” EDH specialists coated his teeth with a layer of gold after carrying out complex dental reconstruction work.

He said: “It was a big thing having all of this treatment. I had no idea I needed it when I went to the dentist after being overseas for 10 years and, yet, suddenly I had this problem. But the care was really good and I felt like I was in safe hands.”

UCLH chairman Richard Murley said: “We chose to build the new facility on Huntley Street because it places the services at the heart of the University College Hospital and University College London campus. The new facility will build on the heritage of this site as well as the EDH and RNTNEH. When it opens, our local, regional, national and international patients will receive the comprehensive services they do now, but in a patient-centred modern environment.”

The build will take around 30 months to complete and at its peak, there will be around 240 construction staff on the site. Heritage is a key theme in the new facility, with the façade including the Duveen Memorial stone from the Royal Ear Hospital and an arts and heritage project developing material from the two hospitals for the interior of the new facility.

Mace deputy chief operating officer for construction Mark Castle said: “We’re making great progress on the construction of the new facility and the ground breaking is a significant construction milestone for the project. This is a technically challenging build, incorporating the site’s heritage and vital services that the departments provide. We’re proud to be involved in such an important clinical facility that will have a positive impact on peoples’ lives when completed.”

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