The opening of a new £500 million hospital building has been delayed despite an opening date suggesting it would be ready in April.

The Louisa Martindale Building was due to open on April 11 after years of development and is set to house a new neurology and critical care ward at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

However, the “hugely complex” process of setting up the building’s management system means patients will not be treated at the building for another few weeks.

University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust said the new building should now open in June, though an exact date has not been set.

In a report from a board of directors' meeting on May 4, University Hospitals Sussex chief executive George Findlay said: “Recently, we have revised our opening plans slightly to provide a bit more time to commission the building management system.

“This is a hugely complex process. The building has 14,000 items of medical equipment within it and the building management system must not only support all of the individual systems across the 11 floors but also ensure they all work together. We are taking a little more time to make sure everything is ready.”


The building was approved for planning in 2012.

It is part of a new plan for the Royal Sussex which will see the current Barry building, one of the oldest working buildings in the NHS, demolished and replaced by a cancer centre.

Staff have shared their excitement at the opening of the building in the coming weeks. 

Emily Spence, a nurse and change consultant on the project, said: “I have been taking a lot of teams around the new building and their jaws have been on the floor when they see their new working environment.

"We’ve even had some staff in tears as it’s such a contrast from where they work now. It is a privilege to work with them on the project."

The Louisa Martindale was named after Brighton and Hove’s first female GP who worked in the city in the early 20th century.

The Argus: The new building with the Thomas Kemp helideck in the backgroundThe new building with the Thomas Kemp helideck in the background (Image: University Hospital Sussex NHS Foundation Trust)

It is hoped that the project, which also includes the helideck on the Thomas Kemp Tower, will improve facilities at the hospital including providing more space for the accident and emergency unit.

More than 100,000 patients a year will be treated across the new building's 11 floors in purpose-designed environments that meet the latest healthcare standards.

The delays come after a recent Care Quality Commission report downgraded the Royal Sussex County Hospital to “inadequate” following an inspection.

The CQC report also uncovered “bullying”, “harassment” and a culture of “fear” within the NHS Foundation Trust.