Hospital Set For Major A&E Refurbishment

Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) is set to undergo a major expansion to its accident and emergency department, enabling the city to meet its expanding health needs.

The massive refurbishment and expansion of the unit will be carried out by Integrated Health Projects, a joint venture between Vinci Construction and Sir Robert McAlpine that was worked on numerous healthcare construction schemes all over England.

Among the enhancements will be a larger and better Emergency Department, with six new operating theatres to help the hospital expand its role as a regional centre for specialist surgery. Other changes will include an increase from 16 major cubicles to 27 and from six resuscitation units to ten.

Work on the £40 million project will begin later this year and will last for three years. Images released by MRI show what the new building will look like with its mixture of steel, glass, concrete, brickworks and masonry, complementing the materials already present in the existing building.

Chief executive of MRI Vanessa Gardener said: “Manchester is a rapidly developing city, with a much larger population and different health requirements to the 1980s when our current Emergency Department was first built.”

She added that the hospital is looking forward to “carrying out the delicate and carefully planned work to make this concept a reality, while continuing to deliver high standards of care for our patients throughout the construction process”.

The hospital is one of several clustered around Oxford Road near Manchester University, just south of the city centre. There has already been extensive construction and redevelopment work in recent years at the site, including new children’s and maternity services.

Earlier this month, work was completed on the construction of an air ambulance helipad on top of the adjacent Grafton Street Car Park, to provide rapid access to life-saving emergency treatment for major traumas.

Air ambulances had previously had to land half a mile away in Platt Fields Park and transfer patients into waiting ambulances, adding potentially crucial extra minutes to the journey time. 

The growth of Manchester has seen the city’s population rise from around 400,000 in the 2001 Census to more than 500,000 by 2011, with this year’s Census set to confirm a further increase to well over 550,000. This includes a large increase in the population in the city centre and to the south, for whom MRI will provide the nearest A&E services.

Commenting on the development, leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese said the project, combined with the development of new facilities at North Manchester General Hospital and Wythenshawe Hospital, “represent sustained and long-term investment in our city-wide health infrastructure”.

The MRI expansion is one of several hospital schemes Integrate Health Projects has been involved with in recent years.

Others include the £150 million Chase Farm Hospital development in London, the redevelopment of a building at Wrightington Hospital in Wigan and the accelerated delivery of a new critical care unit at Preston Infirmary, which was delivered last year to help increase capacity quickly during the Covid emergency.