Pressure will be eased at the city’s struggling A&E – thanks to a 4,000 sqft extension.
The hospital’s roomy reception will be transformed into a treatment room for urgent patients attending with minor complaints or illnesses.
There will be nine treatment rooms, plus a reception and office space.
The multi-million pound project, due to be completed by Christmas, will ease some of the current congestion in the A&E department, say hospital bosses.
It is the first step towards a much-needed new A&E – the subject of a Citizen campaign for the past two years.
And it will bring about a “significant improvement” for patients, said chief executive Joe Harrison.
He has apologised for any disruption to people visiting the hospital while the buildings works are underway.
“We believe that the disruption is a small price to pay for the number of significant improvements this work will bring to the hospital, most importantly towards getting a bigger A&E department,” he told the Citizen.
The hospital’s A&E was built in 1984 to cater for 17,000 patients a year. Last year it dealt with 77,183 patients, 18,645 of whom were children.
Visitors are now asked to use a temporary reception created at the treatment centre, near outpatients and the multi-storey car park.
Meanwhile the entrance to the A&E department will remain as normal.
The project will also include refurbishing the restaurant and the building of an academic facility for teaching medical students to enable the trust to attract and retain the best doctors.