A newly-refurbished front of house was officially opened at Hinchinbrooke Hospital as part of ongoing developments last Friday (September 5).

The £128,000 refurbished reception now houses volunteers, porters and receptionists who also control the hospital switchboard.

New additions of Costa Coffee and convenience store Amigo, are hoped to generate around £1million for the hospital over 10 years – a 92 per cent increase on the previous outlets.

A private room also features in the new front of house and allows visitors and patients personal space when needed.

Chief executive of Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust Hisham Abdel-Rahman said: “It has a better look and is what you expect from a modern hospital. Visitors can now find everything they need from the reception and the information area is much more open and accessible.”

New food and refreshment outlets will be open longer than the previous Forester Cafe and offer much more choice to patients and visitors.

Mayor of Huntingdon Bill Hensley cut the ribbon at the special opening ceremony with Dr Abdel-Rahman.

Councillor Hensley said: “It was very sparse when I first joined the hospital radio in 1983. It didn't run very smoothly but now I have got nothing but praise for the hospital. Hinchingbrooke was voted the top hospital for care recently and it makes me very proud to be mayor.”

Cllr Hensley then helped to officially start work on a new critical care unit.

The £2.8m project comes after calls to expand and refurbish the original unit on the first floor.

Original plans involved adding an extension over a garden area onto the current unit, which would have cost £7.2m.

After several stages of replanning, the new unit will be in an old education centre below the current unit and should be finished by December this year.

Medical director and co-founder of hospital operator Circle, Massoud Fouladi, said: “They found a solution which is not only better but cheaper and that is the most important factor.”

The unit will increase its current nine-bed capacity to 12 beds and will include brand new specialist equipment used to treat patients needing intensive care.