In August 1999, the then Minister of Health, The Hon. Keith Azopardi, instigated an initial appraisal of Blocks 1-4 at Europort with a view to converting them into a modern day general hospital.
Work on the project commenced on 8 July 2002 in radically altering the inner areas of the existing Europort Buildings 1-4 to adapt them to the needs of a Hospital for the 21st century.
For example, the original buildings had seven passenger lifts, which remain, but three new bed-lift size lifts have been introduced to ensure ease of mobility of patients between floors and from operating theatres to wards.
New equipment in radiology, sterilisation and pathology and in the new operating theatres have enhanced and provided the basis of excellence that the new facility brings to the Gibraltar community. Provision of one, two and four-bed ward units with en-suite facilities combined with the best of medical services highlight patient care is seen as the top priority.
Other areas of physical change include the new vehicle ramp at the front of the hospital to provide 'drop-off' facilities for out patients and ease of access for the disabled. A separate accident and emergency entrance, for ambulances only, is available to the rear of the hospital with the department's increased medical facilities immediately to hand.
CCTV AND COMMUNICATIONS
General safety and security has been a consideration with CCTV installed at strategic locations, such as the main reception area and paediatric unit, for monitoring at a central console 24 hours a day.
Information, communication and technology has been catered for with the hospital fully wired to the highest specification to accept, for example, video conferencing and high-speed communication with sister hospitals in the UK if required.
FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT
The hospital will has some 210 beds covering ortho trauma, maternity, surgical, medical and paediatric wards, two main operating theatres and an emergency back up theatre, a hydrotherapy pool with a full rehabilitation clinic, day surgery unit and cardiac rehabilitation, accident and emergency department with provision for major and minor incidents and ophthalmic clinics. There is a modern mortuary with much-improved waiting and viewing facilities adjacent to a new chapel. The present School of Health Studies has relocated from Bleak House to a dedicated area in Block 3 and the office of the Chief Executive and the administrative staff has moved from Johnstone's Passage to Block1.
The purchase, construction and equipment costs of the new hospital were financed by a £38.5 million and leaseback facility through the Royal Bank of Scotland (International).