How can a hospital be safe, technologically advanced, and sustainably efficient, but still feel friendly and welcoming? The €284 million redevelopment project of the Mater Misericordia Hospital Development was completed in 2012, a project we led as project directors, from concept to completion. Managing the brief development, financial structuring, contract, procurement and administrations, construction, stakeholder engagement, and user experience of the projects, over 12 years.

It resulted in 55,000m2 of new acute hospital services, including a new Emergency Department, Outpatients Department, GI unit, 12 new operating theatres, ICU and HDU, Radiology Department and 134 single en-suite bedrooms providing the Mater with significant additional capacity to service growing patient needs and the potential to reduce waiting times, as well as improving the physical environment and experience of using the hospital for everyone.

A complex development, it involved substantial decanting works moving departments to new locations within the hospital campus in order to build the right services in the right location, including the relocation of the sole Energy Centre feeding the entire campus, re-routing all services to decentralised locations, demolishing the former Nurses Home and re-housing the occupants in new and upgraded buildings.

Stakeholder involvement was a critical part of the project, involving 50 end-user groups from within the hospital, as well as engaging with local community interests and special interest groups. Specific attention was given to ensuring that there is an excellent quality of physical environment provided for patients, staff and visitors.

As well as project managing the build, we devised and implemented the successful Mater Lean Programme for the hospital, ensuring that over 70 staff were trained in Lean Six Sigma Green and Yellow Belt Levels enabling them to optimally operate within the new building as soon as it was physically completed.

From July to October 2016 we conducted an evaluation study to explore the staff, patient and visitor experience of the building since it opened in 2012, and to evaluate to what extent the evidence-based design principles incorporated into the new hospital impacted on user experience, especially in meeting staff objectives as well as reducing environmental stressors and contributing to patient recovery. Enthusiasm for the building shone through, reflecting the aim to create a more people friendly hospital space using evidence-based design principles.