The first patients are being welcomed and treated at a new multi-million-pound hospital building in the city.

The Louisa Martindale Building at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton opened its doors today, as departments move from the almost 200-year-old Barry Building.

The new £485 million 11-storey tower has been years in the making and is expected to treat more than 100,000 patients each year.

It comes after more than a decade of campaigning from clinicians, professors and The Argus, calling for a new hospital with state-of-the-art services.

Dr George Findlay, chief executive of University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “An opportunity to improve healthcare on the scale of the Louisa Martindale Building comes along once in a generation if you are lucky.

“It is a privilege to welcome patients into this new building with all the benefits it will bring to them, their visitors and our staff.

“The opening of the Louisa Martindale Building is a testament to the thousands of people who have worked on it over the years.

“I would like to thank them all, from the team who started the design process 15 years ago, to my cleaning, estates and planning colleagues who have been working extraordinarily hard to make the building ready in recent months.

“Every single one of them can be proud of the part they have played, and I think their care and dedication will show through in the experience our patients will have in this amazing new building.”

The building has been named after Dr Louisa Martindale - a physician, surgeon, suffragette and writer who worked in Brighton.

New welcome space will ‘change experience for better’

The hospital’s new entrance will open to all visitors, patients and staff on July 3, with an impressive glass-fronted welcome space set to be used by one million people every year.

As well as new food and drink services, self-check-in kiosks and live bus information, lifts and an internal stairwell connect it directly to more than 100 car parking spaces for patients and visitors.

The Argus: The new waiting area of the Louisa Martindale BuildingThe new waiting area of the Louisa Martindale Building (Image: University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust)

Consultant rheumatologist Dr Theresa Doherty said: “This is such a change - the new building invites the community into the hospital. We’ve never had a space like this before.

“It makes a real difference for patients to know their loved ones can wait in comfort.

“Having space and ease of access for our patients will change their experience for the better in so many ways.”

First patients welcomed to outpatient services

The first patients of the building will be welcomed in the new outpatient services, provided on the lower floors to improve patient experience and make common journeys easier.

All of the outpatients departments have welcoming waiting areas and each has been designed with purpose-built facilities to enhanced patient privacy, confidentiality and dignity.

The services also have a new appointment alerting system, with patients carrying a device that informs them where to go and when it is time for their appointment - allowing them to visit a cafe or shop without worrying about missing their appointment.

The Argus: Staff at the diagnostic cardiology team at the new Louisa Martindale BuildingStaff at the diagnostic cardiology team at the new Louisa Martindale Building (Image: University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust)

Principal cardiac physiologist Caroline New-Jackson said: “The improvement in privacy and dignity for patients is outstanding.

“For instance, we now have pass-through changing facilities for each of our patients with a dedicated changing room that leads straight to their treatment room.

“Previously, patients had to go through corridors where other patients may be waiting to reach the treatment area.”

‘From a Fiat to a Ferrari overnight’ with 'game-changing improvements'

Millions of pounds worth of new equipment will serve patients at the new building, including MRI and CT scanners, x-ray units and bi-planar scanners.

Simon Mackenzie, lead superintendent in MRI, interventional radiology and neurosciences imaging, said: “Our new department helps us to help patients - the natural light, space and art in the department makes it seem less clinical and more welcoming.

“This helps reduce the anxiety some patients may feel, while the new equipment is state of the art and allows us to scan patients more accurately and more quickly. These are game-changing improvements.”

Relevant services have also been brought together to provide better care for patients, including head and neck services, neurosciences and trauma, and neurology and stroke.


The head and neck department sees the ear, nose and throat (ENT) teams, as well as parts of audiology and maxio-facial services work together in the same area for the first time.

Head and neck nurse manager Charlotte Lee said: “Bringing these services together will allow us to provide more of a one-stop shop, offering more to patients in a single appointment.

“This, with the improved environment, will make such a difference for everyone who comes to the department.”

The Argus: Some of the new state-of-the-art equipment at the Louisa Martindale BuildingSome of the new state-of-the-art equipment at the Louisa Martindale Building (Image: University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust)

Manuel Loueiro, head of audiology, said: “In terms of equipment and the environment, we are going from a Fiat to a Ferrari overnight.

“There is no comparison between our current audiology booths that were manufactured in the 1970s and the new ones.

“Combine that with being able to coordinate patient care directly with colleagues and the difference for patients becomes staggering.”

Wards with views across city and seafront

New wards on levels five to ten of the building provide views of the sea and the city from every patient’s room.

Two-thirds of beds are in single ensuite rooms, with the remainder provided in single-sex bays with a maximum of four patients each.

Each ward has a communal patient area, where patients can socialise and take meals - which is also designed to help staff spend more time with patients.

The Argus: Wards in the building offer views from across the city and the seafrontWards in the building offer views from across the city and the seafront (Image: University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust)

Change consultant and nurse Zingy Thetho said: “Coming here and seeing what this provides, I’m quite emotional and excited as well.

“I’ve shown many clinical colleagues round the new building and I can see the light in their faces - it is such a contrast and so positive for everybody.”

‘New hospital fit for the 21st century’

The Louisa Martindale Building also boasts unique artwork and coordination of colour schemes to help visitors and patients find their way around the building.

Public areas, corridors and lifts are separated from inpatient transfer lifts and corridors to perverse patient privacy and dignity as they move from one service to another.

More than 1,500 plants and shrubs, 21 trees and 20 planters also provide a space to improve patient well-being through nature.

Chief financial officer and executive lead for the hospital redevelopment programme Karen Geoghegan said: “We have built the Louisa Martindale Building with environmental best practice in mind at every stage, to ensure our new facilities care for the planet as well as our patients.

“The use of modern materials, employing new construction techniques and use of a comprehensive building management system, have all helped to minimise the environmental impact of the project.

“The end result is an amazing new asset for healthcare in Sussex that is both a beacon for beautiful public building design and a shining example of a new NHS hospital fit for the 21st century.”