WORK is underway on the new £15m urgent treatment centre at Great Western Hospital.

Demolition of the Clover unit started yesterday to make way for the facility which will give more space for dealing with patients.

A GWH spokeswoman said: “A temporary urgent treatment centre building has been built behind the Shalbourne Suite while construction work is underway.

“Once complete, the new, permanent centre will have a single urgent and emergency care reception, supported by a clinical navigator who will signpost patients to the most appropriate service on arrival, as well as additional clinic rooms and more space for a socially distanced waiting area.

“It will be bigger and brighter than the old urgent care centre, with space to build additional floors upwards at a later date if needed.”

While the construction is underway, the stretch of Coatside Way – from the emergency department car park to the junction by the pharmacy will remain closed for six months.

The west entrance at the Marlborough Road hospital is now closed has become a fire exit only while demolition of the Clover building takes place.

The spokeswoman added: “Designs have been drawn up for the urgent treatment centre, which have had input from clinical leads as well as patients and families.

“This ensures that the new building will meet the needs of the patients who will use it and will ensure that patients are seen as quickly as possible.”

The funding for the development, which was successfully bid for last year, is on top of the £30m funding from the Government as part of GWH’s Way Forward Programme.

“It will support this large programme of improvement work to urgent and emergency care services,” the spokeswoman added.

She explained the development was in addition to the extra 5.5 hectares the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust bought next to the site to allow for further expansion as part of the Way Forward programme.

GWH chief executive Kevin McNamara said last year: “We’ve known for a long time that our hospital is simply too small, which is why we successfully bid for £30 million of funding to expand and improve services.”

The new centre is expected to open in December.