THE first stage of a £485 million hospital redevelopment has been completed.

NHS bosses and local dignitaries as well as long-serving staff celebrated the milestone topping-out ceremony to mark the completion of the framework for the 3Ts Redevelopment’s Stage 1 Building at Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital.

Deputy city mayor Alan Robins and deputy leader of Brighton and Hove City Council Dan Yates joined Dame Marianne Griffiths, chief executive officer of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, and Liam Cummins, head of UK Building for Laing O’Rourke at the event yesterday afternoon to lay the final piece of concrete.

Dolores Glover, who has worked at the Royal Sussex County Hospital for more than 40 years, placed a piece of yew wood into the concrete – a tradition believed to bring good luck to a building and its occupants.

Dame Marianne said: “At the beginning of this year this hospital and its staff were rated as outstanding for care by the Care Quality Commission.

“This took an incredible amount of work by everyone in the organisation and sprung from putting patients first in everything we do. “There is still more work to be done however, and the environment in which we deliver care is of vital importance for patients and staff.

“It has been incredible to see how things have changed on the construction site in the last 12 months. We have witnessed a significant part of the hospital’s future, literally growing before our eyes.

“This impressive building, and the 3Ts Redevelopment as a whole, will give us the kind of care environment around which our future as a major, acute, teaching hospital trust can be built.”

Mr Cummins said: “Our close relationship with the NHS means we are working collaboratively to ensure the current hospital continues to operate throughout the works and disruption is kept to a minimum.”

The Stage 1 Building will open early in 2021 and will be the new home for more than 30 wards and departments. This will include all the services from the Barry Building, which opened 20 years before Florence Nightingale started nursing.

It will host the new main entrance and connect directly to buildings further back on site, making it much easier to navigate the hospital. It will also feature underground car parking.

The programme to replace all the buildings on the front of the main hospital site is being carried out in three stages to ensure the hospital can continue to run. The redevelopment programme will be complete in 2025.