THE Bradford Royal Infirmary's (BRI) Women's and Newborn Unit has been given a makeover as part of a wider multi-million programme to improve patient care.

Over 200,000 babies have been born at the unit since it was built more than half a century ago.

As well as making the building fit for purpose, the £1.8m, 12-month makeover also protects it from bad weather and has fixed issues with heat loss, draughts, noise and leaks.

It's hoped this will allow the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to conserve energy and cut costs.

Amanda Hardaker, Midwifery and Gynaecology Matron, said: “The fact that we’ve been able to keep services running as normal while all this work has gone on is testament to the support and consideration of the contractors.We are so pleased with the finished job: the main difference is that we’re insulated now and fit for the future. We’ve gone from having to have extra heaters on in patients’ rooms to a really balmy temperature, so that we often don’t even need the radiators on."

She added:“And most importantly it means that we can optimise outcomes for babies. The best thing for newborn babies, especially ones which are underweight and more vulnerable, is that the heat service is consistent, which it absolutely is now.”

The refit includes better insulated windows, refurbishment of the roof and weatherproof-insulated cladding panels on the outside of the building.

The trust said the insulation and cladding is made from the latest materials for optimum fire resilience and goes beyond all the latest British regulatory standards and checks for fire safety, while also meeting European fire safety standards.

Thomas Molloy, from the trust’s Estates Design Team, added: "As well as making the building fit for purpose, the makeover has also brought some big improvements in terms of energy efficiency and bringing the building into the 21st century. It’s a great improvement.”

Head of Midwifery, Sara Hollins, said the new-look unit is inviting for patients and staff:.

“Externally it looks spectacular: new and modern, but it’s also clinically a very good thing; everyone is very happy with it and we’re getting loads of positive comments," she said.

Professor Trevor Mole, managing director of Property Tectonics, lead consultant, said: “The scheme represents a great example of teamwork and excellence in project delivery by hospital staff and their professional advisors cooperating and engaging at every level to produce a very successful outcome, creating the right internal environment which saves energy, protects the planet and improves the look and feel of the hospital estate; all achieved whilst maintaining full operation of the unit.”

The investment is part of the trust’s £75m capital build programme to improve patient care across the hospitals (the BRI and St Luke's Hospital) over a five-year period.

In early 2017, a new £28 million wing opened at the BRI.

It took two years to build, which was opened by Princess Anne, is home to two spacious children and young people’s wards, a state-of-the-art 16-bed intensive care unit (ICU), dementia-friendly wards for the elderly and a retail concourse.

In the same year, the trust also completed a £2m refurbishment of its Emergency Department, as part of its vision to create a more efficient acute medicine service.