2nd March 2020

Perega completes work on GOSH integrated suite

While traditional neurosurgery requires several days between surgery and a follow-up scan, integrated MRI systems allow for patients to be taken immediately from one to the other to assess whether a further operation is required. Such set-ups effectively reduce the need for repeat surgeries, nursing and more anaesthetic. Overall, it is a less intrusive process, especially important for people more sensitive to surgery, including children.

Recently completed, the integrated suite at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is the fifth in the UK. Perega was appointed by Kier as civil and structural engineers on the project.

Incorporating an operating theatre, the suite is located in a 1930s courtyard built on the same ground as the old hospital. Its history meant that the ground contained basements which had been infilled with old construction material. As a result, piled foundations – normally avoided in such congested locations – were required.

Shared access with the rest of the hospital and neighbouring A&E hospital meant keeping to a tight deadline was a priority, along with being considerate neighbours. Concrete would normally be the first choice for a project like this as it offers greater density and thickness to reduce vibrations from footfall felt within the theatre. However, after assessing the situation, Perega decided that a steel frame for the structure was the best suited due to its fast delivery time.

Owing to the nature of the project, the effects of magnetism and embedded metal had to be taken into account. Too much steel could affect how the machine functions. To prevent this, the consultancy designed a support structure further away from the machine. This consisted of a smaller secondary structure directly supporting the MRI equipment without compromising its functionality.

The logistics of moving an 8 tonne machine into the building also proved a challenge. Along with requiring substantial reinforcing, Perega had to maintain a hole in one of the walls to provide access for the MRI.

Overall, the design of the iMRI suite had to take into consideration the environment without the machine present, allowing it be repurposed in future. Planning for this included demountable partitions and a crane to lift and move the machine.

Perega Associate Darren Williams comments: “The iMRI suite will become a well-used part of the hospital, giving much needed specialist facilities to the neurological surgeons and oncology department at the hospital.”

To read more about Perega’s healthcare projects, click here.