Work is continuing this month on the upgrade to Raigmore Hospital which equates to the single biggest investment the Inverness hospital has had since it was built.

Approval and funding to upgrade the hospitals critical care service was given by the Scottish Government in March this year with an investment of £28m over the next three years.

Last month Graham Construction, who will be completing the project, carried out invasive drilling surveys to test noise and vibration levels and this month saw Ward GC, which looks after oncology patients, move to a newly refurbished ward on the fifth floor.

Doreen Bell, clinical advisor for the tower block upgrade explained that with Ward GC now empty work can begin on preparing it for the next move.

She said: “Work will now start on a redesign of GC to prepare it for the move of Ward 1A which is scheduled to happen later in the year.

“Ward 1A, which cares for our daycase patients and is also our common admission lounge, will be housed in GC for approximately 18 months allowing work to start on the first floor as we look to upgrade our critical care services.”

The upgrade will bring all critical care services, which includes the Acute Medical Assessment Unit, the Intensive Care Unit, Surgical High Dependency Unit, CCU, Cardiology and Theatre suite, adjacent to each other over two floors.

The operating theatres at the hospital will be refurbished and an additional theatre will be added to bring the total number of theatres in the suite to 10, seven of which will be equipped with specialist laminar air flow, ensuring the air within the theatre environment is at the cleanest possible standard.

Katherine Sutton, deputy director of operations for Raigmore Hospital, said: “Having critical care services over the two floors will not only allow best use of space and staff but it will also improve patient flow in the hospital and the privacy and dignity of our patients.

“This work and investment will not only greatly improve the facilities but also provides an opportunity to co-locate wards and ensure that first-class healthcare can be delivered in modern facilities for years to come.”

The original building at Raigmore Hospital, which services the population of the Highlands as well as Moray and the Western Isles for some specialities, was constructed in 1980.

A number of improvement works have already been carried out including refurbishment of some of the wards, the provision of a new, state-of-the-art endoscopy unit and the opening of the Highland Children’s Unit earlier in the year.