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Hospital unveils plan for warmer welcome
PLANS are under way for a multi-million-pound extension to Oxford’s main hospital.
John Radcliffe Hospital bosses want a new reception area for the main hospital entrance with shops, a cafe and a glass atrium.
A planning application for the £3m to £4m scheme has now been submitted to Oxford City Council .
Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) Trust said the entrance has not been updated since the hospital was built in the 1970s.
Director of development and the estate Mark Trumper said: “The main reason for the proposed revamp is to make the whole experience at the front door to the John Radcliffe much more pleasant for patients and their visitors by providing a variety of retail options, information points, baby changing and feeding facilities, with a light and airy reception area.”
It is hoped the scheme will bridge the space between the main hospital and the Women’s Centre with a glass-fronted canopy and pedestrian link.
Bosses also want to cut the number of vehicles parking in front of the existing main entrance by changing access and re-directing deliveries.
No details have been given on the retail units but the trust said they would meet “requirements for consumerism”.
Southampton University Hospitals Trust came under fire for allowing fast food chain Burger King to set up at the city’s General Hospital.
The OUH was also criticised earlier this year when the Oxford Mail revealed a volunteer-run cafe is now being charged £25,000 a year in rent.
The League of Friends (LoF) previously got cafeteria space on level one of the west wing for ‘a peppercorn’ rent for five years and donated takings towards specialist medical equipment.
The LoF then closed a smaller tea bar unit to “balance the books”.
The trust is battling to pay back a £46.6m annual bill for projects built under the controversial private finance initiative (PFI) loans.
Under the scheme, private firms built developments like the Oxford Cancer Centre, which the trust effectively buys back plus interest.
It is believed it has to show auditors it is making “best use” of its space in order to generate income to pay back its loans.
It said the new extension would not be built under PFI and it was too early to say if the LoF would be offered a place.
Mr Trumper said: “Our aim is make this development ‘self-funding’ through an arrangement with a preferred contractor who will be chosen when the bid goes out to tender.”
If approved by the council, work would begin next spring for a winter finish.