DEMOLITION teams moved in to knock down the old unoccupied Canadian hutted wards at Hereford County Hospital last week.

It is estimated that around a million patients have been admitted to the hutted wards since they began admitting patients in the 1940s.

The hutted wards were used extensively during the Second World War but are now being demolished to make way for new £21million wards expected to open in 2020.

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The new wards will provide 72 beds, an extra 34 beds over and above the capacity provided in the two hutted wards still currently in use for inpatients at Hereford County Hospital.

Due to the age of the building and closeness to the existing wards, the contractor is demolishing four unoccupied hutted wards a section at a time.

Building work on the new wards is set to start early next year, subject to funding approval from NHS Improvement, the body which monitors the performance of NHS hospital Trusts in England.

Jo Hall, paediatric diabetes specialist nurse who started work on Christopher Robin hutted ward in 1998, said it was sad to see the historic unit go but also exciting to see the new developments.

She said: “Christopher Robin Ward was a really happy and friendly place to work and I have many fond memories of the unit.

“It’s a little sad to see the original ‘old huts’ go, but exciting to see the new developments”.

Wye Valley NHS Trust managing director Jane Ives said: “This marks the largest investment in increase bed capacity on the hospital site since it opened in 2002, and of course, the end of an era for many staff who have worked in these hutted wards during the last 80 years, some of whom are still working for the trust today.

“We’re delighted that the demolition is now underway to make way for the new 21st century wards and the trust has submitted a further planning permission for an additional third ward.

“This is also a great opportunity to thank staff members who have worked in the hutted wards, and those still working on Monnow and Leadon Ward until 2020 when the new wards are expected to open.”

Wye Valley NHS Trust is a provider health services across Herefordshire and beyond.

The trust exists to improve the wellbeing, independence and health of the people they serve and they are the leading provider of health care in the county.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “By working closely with our partners, we can make good our promise to deliver a quality of care we would want for ourselves, our families and our friends.

“With an estimated annual turnover of around £180 million, we employ around 2,700 plus staff. We aim to build new relationships between our staff, patients, service users and their carers with the wider community.”