THE iconic frontage of Colchester Hospital’s main entrance has been ripped down to make way for a new design.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester Hospital, is in the process of building a new A&E extension and main entrance.

The works have been underway since last month and now canopies over A&E and main entrance have been demolished to prepare for the extensions.

A change in how buses come on to the site is also set to start on Tuesday.

The trust said: “A new turning circle has been created at the children’s outpatients end of the main block as part of the redevelopment work. This will mean all buses will come on to the site via the south entrance, off Turner Road, and will go out again the same way.

“They will no longer be able to travel across the front of the building, which will make it safer for patients and visitors arriving at the hospital and reduce congestion in that area.

“The new bus stops are slightly further along the pavement from where the former block of bus stops were.”

The main entrance to the hospital building will be closed for around five months while building work continues.A new temporary entrance has been formed, which will take patients and visitors through part of the outpatients department near to the children’s outpatients entrance.

To access Gainsborough Wing wards and clinics, patients and visitors are advised to use the Gainsborough Wing entrance to the right of the main building.

The extension to the building will be in two blocks.The first is single-storey and provides additional space for A&E, which will also include an Urgent Treatment Centre from October.

The second is a larger, two-storey block which forms the new entrance.This will provide non-clinical hospital space on the first floor, with new shops on the ground floor.

These include M&S Food to go, WH Smith, Costa Coffee and Stock Shop clothing store

Nick Chatten is acting Director of Estates and Facilities at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) which runs Colchester Hospital.

He said: “We know coming to hospital is, for many, a stressful and anxious time. We also know the main entrance and reception areas commonly give our patients their first and lasting impression of Colchester Hospital.

“What we had before was cramped and no longer fit for purpose. By increasing the space and improving our facilities we aim to create a modern, welcoming and calming environment for our patients, visitors and staff.

“There will also be significant service improvements for patients attending the new Urgent Treatment Centre, which will be part of the existing Emergency Department. 

“We appreciate there may be some disruption and we thank everyone for their patience while we make these improvements, but we’re building for better care at Colchester Hospital and creating high quality facilities the community can be proud of.”