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Every hour of the hospital relocation has been meticulously planned

17 September 2020

It is almost time. At the end of September, St. Erik Eye Hospital will relocate from Kungsholmen to brand new premises in Hagastaden near Karolinska University Hospital. Planning the relocation, which is set to take nine days, has been under way for two years. 

Två kvinnor som ler, den ena i blommig tröja och vit kjol, den andra i sjukvårdskläder.

Relocation coordinator Anne-Charlotte Backlund clears things out ahead of the relocation in consultation with project manager Saija Sethfors.

Relocating a hospital is a complex logistical challenge. Especially since all operations need to continue in the old premises up until the very last minute. Once the relocation has been completed, operations are to resume in the new premises as soon as possible.

It takes extremely good planning and thorough preparation to carry out a relocation of this nature in an efficient manner and in as little time as possible, says Saija Sethfors, general relocation project manager at St. Erik Eye Hospital.

Relocating a hospital is not something you do every day. But Saija Sethfors actually has experience in the matter, she served as the project and commissioning manager for New Karolinska Solna. That gigantic relocation gave her experiences which she has brought with her to this assignment.

All the pieces have to be in place, regardless of whether the hospital is relocating 450 or 7,000 employees, she says.

A two year planning period

In 2016, the County Council Executive Committee decided to relocate St. Erik Eye Hospital to new premises. The purpose was to achieve improvements in order to carry out the assignment of providing highly specialised ophthalmology care, research and education. Over the past two years, Saija Sethfors and her colleagues have been busy planning the relocation.

It is all in the details. The relocation will take place over nine days, between 18–27 September. The planning for these nine days is dictated down to the hour, she says.

Around 90 per cent of the medical equipment will also be transferred, as will the hospital’s IT systems. Other things are sorted out, recycled or discarded. An archivist has helped with the digitalisation of documents.

During St. Erik Eye Hospital 30-year run at Kungsholmen, archives have of course filled up, and this is an excellent opportunity to review what can be digitalised, says Saija Sethfors.

Information fundamental for relocation progress

Assistant nurse Anna-Charlotte Backlund has assisted in the relocation of the administration, research operations and histopathology department, but also the retina service, oncology department and the resident physicians. The key word for all of this to function has been information.

She has participated in relocation coordination meetings and also created an internal relocation blog where she has provided the personnel with a steady flow of information about important reference points in planning the relocation.

I have also put up information boards and sent out information by email. The key is to reach everyone so that they can feel involved, says Anne-Charlotte Backlund.

Två kvinnor står framför en planeringstavla.
Anne-Charlotte Backlund and Saija Sethfors go over the relocation schedule. Photo: Jens Sølvberg
She compares it to moving between flats – but on a gigantic scale. And just like any other move, everything runs smoothly as long as you know what needs doing.

Together with her new colleague, Salwan Guma, Anne-Charlotte Back Backlund has labelled furniture and technical equipment to make sure they end up in the correct room and on the correct floor in the new hospital building. She has also encouraged personnel to go over what they need to bring with them, and to prepare for packing.

One particularly difficult challenge was the research department, where there are not many Swedish-speakers. But I had help from our communications department in translating the instructions, and then everything went well, she says.

Both Anne-Charlotte Backlund and Saija Sethfors are now looking forward to working in the brand new premises.It is all very exciting, and things will go so well over there. We have been looking forward to new premises which will allow us to offer our patients better care, concludes Anne-Charlotte Backlund. 

Text: Mats Almegård

About the relocation of St. Erik Eye Hospital:

  • At the end of September 2020, St. Erik Eye Hospital will move to a newly built property at Eugeniavägen 12 in Hagastaden, Solna.
  • The hospital will be located opposite to Karolinska University Hospital, Solna.
  • Until mid-September, all operations will continue as usual on Kungsholmen in Stockholm. After that, patient services are slightly scaled-down for a short period during the relocation period.
  • As of 27 September, St. Erik Eye Hospital will open all operations and services at the new address Eugeniavägen 12 in Solna.