Hospital fights back after blaze damage

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THE clean-up operation following a devastating fire at Chesterfield Royal Hospital is ‘well under way’ two weeks after the blaze - but the complete redevelopment is still set to take until March next year.

All services are open at the hospital with alternative arrangements in place for those areas which were affected.

Hospital chiefs say demolition work in the main entrance progressed well over the weekend and should be completed within the next two to three weeks.

The aim is to remove the damaged structure and rebuild the roof as soon as possible to make the area water- tight.

It will also continue to be cleaned to determine the level of smoke damage.

First reports on the structural damage caused have been filed and repair costs are likely to be substantial.

But the final figure is not yet known and will not be released until tendering exercises for the redevelopment work are completed.

Orthopaedic out-patients and patients requiring treatment at the fracture clinic continue to be seen on Staveley ward.

But work on the clinic is going well and bosses say it could reopen in the next two weeks.

The plan is to move services back to their normal base as soon as is practical, with a temporary reception area to be set up in the clinic itself.

And within the next two days the booked admissions service will reopen in the diabetic education centre, opposite the chapel.

People attending for an out-patient appointment will again be able to book surgery dates at the same time.

Security and patient accounts are still open for business, operating from the orthopaedic clinic reception area - accessed from the front of the hospital.

The staff Relax@theRoyal restaurant is still open to patients and visitors to make up for the loss of some catering facilities.

The trust is hoping to bring a temporary kitchen on site in the next two weeks to expand the range of meals on offer.

A temporary cabin facility will be in place outside the main entrance, providing a reception area base for the next 12 to 16 weeks.

Advice centre staff are working from their main entrance office but there are currently no front of house facilities for patients.

Staff are seeing patients on wards and in departments, and a separate room is available for patients to speak to someone in private.

On-site parking remains free of charge because the security barriers are still out of operation.

Parking areas have been assigned for staff, patients and visitors but clamping is in operation if vehicles have parked in an emergency access area or if the parking is considered dangerous.

Staff continue to pay for parking, but directors are looking at reimbursement.