CARPENTERS, electricians and plumbers are among those working hard across the 50-acre hospital site to ensure everything is in tip-top condition.

The site has a total floor area in use of more than 90,000 square metres and includes mainly modern buildings, completed in 2006, with a few remaining wartime structures, built in 1940.

The Estates department employs around 50 staff, with roles divided between hospital maintenance, new projects, fire officer duties, helpdesk and energy and waste.

Head of Estates Terry Cropp joined the team in 1993 as an electrician before becoming a projects officer in 1999 and then operations manager in October 2014. Last month he was appointed to head of estates.

He said: “There’s always the routine work such as repairing lights and taps; however Estates are also responsible for maintaining many complex systems which require specialist skills to work on and repair.

“We can never predict what’s around the corner – anything that affects patient care is critical, such as faults with heating, ventilation and nurse call systems to name a few.

“The Trust has a Minor Works Team that was formed about five years ago, and it helps deliver projects with greater flexibility than an external contractor.”

Supporting the Minor Works team, and to assist the Trust with major capital projects, such as the refurbishment and expansion of the intensive care ward, is the Project Team, which provides specialist design and project management.

Energy and waste are a major expense for the Trust and to reduce waste the Trust has a ‘recycling centre’.

Primarily staffed by 16 volunteers, they refurbish old desks and chairs, some of which can be found in the Emergency Department.

The hospital also has a Combined Heat and Power Unit, which is used to generate electricity and the waste heat from the generator is used to heat parts of the site, including the Spinal Unit.

Mr Cropp said: “We are looking at ways of recruitment within Estates and options for training to develop our existing staff, for example with site-based NVQs.

“Our long-term goal will be to have formal building and engineering-biased apprenticeships, an area that historically we have struggled to recruit to.”