New walkway could transport patients between Sheffield hospital sites

How the new walkway would look.
How the new walkway would look.

Hospital patients could be transferred between Sheffield's Weston Park and Jessops Hospitals via a new walkway as part of plans drawn up by health bosses.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has submitted a planning application seeking permission to build a covered walkway, which could be used to transport patients, staff and visitors between the two sites.

Kirsten Major, deputy chief executive of the trust, said Weston Park patients currently had to be transferred to Royal Hallamshire Hospital by ambulance but if the walkway was built, Weston Park patients could use theatres at RHH, as there was already a walkway between Jessops and the RHH.

She said: "The planning application for a covered link walkway is in response to both patient and staff feedback about the challenges of transferring patients from Weston Park to the Jessops Wing.

"With an ageing population more and more of our patients are living with multiple health conditions and so patients in Weston Park will often need the services, diagnostic facilities or specialist teams located in the Hallamshire as well as cancer care.

"Currently we have to use ambulances to transfer patients the short distance because there is no direct link between the hospitals. This takes up an important resource and can add a delay in any transfer or care needed.

"The proposed covered link walkway would mean we can transfer patients really quickly, safely and comfortably. It would also enable staff to move between the two hospitals even more quickly to provide care when it is needed especially when this is urgent situation.

"It will also provide a safe route for staff at night. We already have a link walkway between Jessop Wing and the Hallamshire for similar reasons."

A design and access statement submitted with the application said the trust needed to provide bracytherapy treatment - a form of radiotherapy - to patients in Weston Park but building a theatre on the site would not be "economically viable".

It said: " The current theatre suite is old and requires significant investment to update it; it is not ideally situated within the building. Also, the area would ideally be required for other developments within Weston Park Hospital.

"Following an option appraisal, it was concluded that the development of a new theatre suite on the first floor of a new building at WPH would be the most optimal solution.

"Other than the 'Do Nothing' option, the appraisal considered the transfer of patients to the RHH site using an ambulance.This option scored poorly due to the clinical and logistical deficiencies that this would create: however, at that stage the walkway was not thought to be feasible and was not considered as part of the appraisal.

"The transfer of patients via a walkway, while not the most optimal solution would be acceptable due to the fact that patients can be transferred easily between sites with minimal delay."