It’s removal time this weekend for many of the staff at the historic Mineral Water Hospital site in Bath when Rheumatology Services and Rheumatology Therapies transfer to the Royal United Hospital’s Combe Park site.
They will join colleagues from the Bath Centre for Fatigue Services, which moved from the Min a week earlier, and RUH Therapies and Pain Services at the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre at the RUH.
Dr Ellie Korendowych, Clinical Lead for Rheumatology, said: “Obviously there’s some sadness atmoving from the Min, which is a much-loved building. But this is an exciting time and what’s important is that we’ll be moving into a brand new, purpose-built home and providing the same high-quality care, with the same teams, for our patients.”
Other staff and services housed at the Min – including clinical measurement, research and development, chronic pain and complex cancer rehabilitation – will move to the RUH site over the next few months.
This new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre is close to the main entrance of the RUH. It is an outpatient centre providing treatment, care and education for patients to recover from episodes of illness or injury, or to manage their long-term condition.
The new building includes a large hydrotherapy pool, group rooms, specialist gyms with rehabilitation equipment, and a biologics treatment space. The new Centre has been specially designed to make use of natural light as well as garden areas and art to create a nurturing environment for all who use the building.
Careful consideration has gone into the interior design of the new Centre, including the use of art and heritage, influenced by feedback from patients, staff and other partners.
Five 18th century portraits from the Min are to be hung in the new Centre after receiving extensive conservation treatment, the best-known being the oil painting entitled ‘Dr Oliver and Mr Peirce examining Patients with Paralysis, Rheumatism and leprosy by William T.Hoare’.
It was a delicate and careful operation by specialist artwork removers to lift them from the walls.
Hetty Dupays, RUH Art and Design Manager, said: “It’s always nerve-wracking to see suchvaluable and treasured paintings being handled, but our experts removers did a great job.
“The five paintings are hugely important historically and aesthetically. It’s wonderful that they will be restored, conserved and improved and given a new home at our new Centre.”
Other original medical equipment and artefacts from the Min are on show in a ‘Cabinet ofCuriosities’ display in the corridors of the new Centre.
The RUH charity Art at the Heart is working with Bath Medical Museum to set up a dedicated museum within Bath that can house more of the Min’s collection of medical artefacts and historic memorabilia.
The hydrotherapy pool in the new Centre is an artwork in itself with architectural glass panels designs by artist Christopher Tipping that reference both hospital sites, landmarks of the Bath area and the city’s historic relationship with water.
Inside, wallpaper design interprets aspects of the Min’s heritage collection of artefacts and paintings, while outside on the front of the building a Thermal Waters Timeline work by artist Ross Bennett represents the history and historical uses of the thermal spring waters of Bath.
The kiln-cast glass through the centre of the piece represents the water. It follows a geographically accurate terrain line of the journey that the waters are believed to take, falling as rain on the Mendips around 2000 years ago and slowly working their way towards Bath, being heated and accruing their unique set of minerals on the way.
The Trust’s Forever Friends Appeal is raising a minimum of £2m towards this project in association with the RNHRD Charitable Fund – with the Brownsword Charitable Foundation challenging the public to back the appeal by generously promising to match every pound donated up to the level of £1m.
In 2015 The Royal United Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust acquired the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) NHS Foundation Trust.
The RNHRD treats patients from across the country offering services in rheumatology, chronic pain and chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, cancer-related fatigue and fatigue linked to other long term conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
Apart from the new purpose-built RNHRD the Trust is working towards a new Dyson Cancer Centre. For more details visit:www.ruh.nhs.uk/about/fit_for_the_future
The original sale of the old building brought in around £20 million – l understood – which went into funding the new development. The Min was then sold on and is believed to be destined to be turned into yet another luxury hotel for the city.
Check out our nearby story about Bath’s Therapeutic Festival when local historian Dr Amy Frost says she hopes – whatever happens – the public will have access to the building’s original history and – not forgetting – the Roman mosaic in the basement!