How can I give my views on the proposed plans?
We have published a page on the Trust website which includes more detailed information about the features and configuration of the building as well as some artists impressions of what it will look like.
Why do you say the building is ‘proposed’?
This is because we are still in the early stages of the project. We have applied to the Government’s New Hospital Programme for funding to pay for the new building and in the coming weeks we will start the process of applying for permission to build it. We hope to get a positive outcome about the funding soon.
What services will be provided in the building?
This new building will be a purpose-built home for many of the highly specialist services needed each year by thousands of patients. Services to be located in the building include adult critical care, burn care, the North East Assisted Ventilation Service, specialist maternity services, and services for patients living with Cystic Fibrosis.
And it will give us more ward and theatre capacity to help our plan to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Where will the new specialist hospital building be located?
We’re proposing to locate the new building at the Royal Victoria Infirmary site, off Richardson Road.
The site sits between the Leazes Wing and Crawford House, though Crawford House itself will be unaffected. It has existing hospital buildings on three sides (north, east and west).
The proposed site is owned by The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is currently vacant, which means that construction could start as soon as formal approvals and funding are in place.
What will the new specialist hospital building look like?
We are able to share the artist’s impressions of what the building will look like, how many floors it will have as well as other services and facilities.
These artist’s images of what the proposed building will look like can be viewed here.
Some other details of the proposed building are:
- It would have four floors and a basement. A two-level plant centre for heating, power, other machinery and equipment would sit on top of the building.
- At ground-level the main entrance will lead patients and visitors to a reception area, patient information, coffee shop and seating area. There will be a separate entrance for fetal medicine and the women’s health unit. We’re proposing to link the levels in the new building to those in the existing Leazes Wing with a bridge, making it easy to move between buildings.
- Inside there would be a central ‘street’ which will make it easy for people to find where they need to go and easily get there. Three internal courtyards will bring natural light and interest into the building. Up on the roof we propose to create a landscaped outdoor patient treatment area.
How much will it cost?
We have applied to the Government’s New Hospital Programme for £190m to cover the cost of the build. This is a competitive national process that will select eight bids to fund. We expect to hear if we have been successful soon.
This is a value for money expansion, which will significantly improve the environment for patients and staff and enable us to continue to put the needs of our patients at the heart of everything we do and provide an environment where our staff can thrive.
What are the benefits to patients and service users in having all these services together?
This new building will be a purpose-built home for many of the highly specialist services needed each year by thousands of patients from across our region and further afield.
These specialist services operate best when they are close together. Having these services and staff expertise together in one building will enable us to continue to provide high quality, critical and highly complex services to patients.
Why can’t the services just stay where they are? Doesn’t building the new specialist hospital building cost more money than staying where they are?
At the moment the services are provided from a range of older buildings that cost a lot to maintain. Some of the facilities need to be replaced, refurbished or upgraded urgently, because they don’t meet the standards we expect.
Continued investment in our buildings and facilities is a key component of the delivery of safe, high-quality care. By investing in the new specialist hospital Building the Trust can treat patients with specialist and complex conditions in a purpose-built building that meets their needs.
Will there be more jobs created?
Yes, the development will support an increase in local employment opportunities.
The new specialist hospital Building will also enable staff currently working in these specialist areas to move into the new facilities and work in a top quality environment and with state of the art equipment. This will contribute to greater job satisfaction and retention.
What facilities for staff will be provided?
We are committed to making sure that the new building provides a good environment to work in and provides improved facilities for staff.
Details of some these proposed facilities include:
- Facilities for cyclists:
- Secure bike parking facilities and dedicated cycle routes to and from this parking.
- Suitable changing rooms, places to store helmets and cycle shoes as well as rooms to dry wet cycle clothing. The dry room will also include a cycle maintenance workbench, tools and there will be a supply of typical spares in case of breakdown.
- Staff changing, rest and sleep areas:
- Staff changing rooms to accommodate the staff numbers expected to be working in the building.
- A number of staff rest rooms are to be provided on all of the operational floors with capacity designed for the number of staff to be working in these areas.
- On call bedrooms where staff can sleep whilst on call.
- Parking and catering:
- We are also working hard to improve the catering facilities for staff across the RVI. It is also important that sufficient parking is provided for staff, visitors and patients.
- The New Specialist Hospital Building, as part of the RVI site, is on a well-connected public transport network, we would encourage staff to think about using more sustainable modes of transport to travel. Views about steps we can take to encourage green transport are very welcome.
Who will be responsible for building the development?
There is a Trust led project team, which includes staff representation, who are responsible for the proposed build. The Trust is also working with a number of partner organisations.
- Strategic Healthcare Planning
- DPP Planning
- Medical Architecture
- Turner and Townsend
- Integrated Health Projects
Staff are, of course, a key part of the proposed plans and have been a critical part of our work so far, with both clinical and non-clinical support teams involved in the design.
As the project moves forward, and if the funding bid is successful we will then be able to involve more people in our plans, including, patients, service users and staff.
When will the development start? When will it be completed?
The timing of construction of the new specialist hospital building is dependent on several factors including (a) the outcome of current funding bid to the Government (decision expected soon), (b) progress of other existing schemes in the Government’s New Hospitals Programme and (c) approvals of our business case, planning permission etc.
The very earliest that construction works could start is May 2023 but could be later. We estimate that the construction and commissioning period would be about 31 months.
What about the longer term effects on the environment?
From the outset, a key part of our thinking has been how to make this new building fit with our climate emergency commitment to become a net zero carbon organisation by 2040. The building project and the building itself will be an integral part of our action to deliver our Climate Emergency Strategy 2020 – 2025.
We’ve put sustainability at the heart of the project and set ourselves a target to achieve net zero carbon ‘in use’ and an outstanding rating from BREEAM, a world renowned sustainability rating that looks at all aspects of the build including energy, health and wellbeing, transport, pollution, land use and much more.
The new specialist hospital building is one part of a ten-year building programme and would be the most environmentally-friendly we’ve ever built.
We want to provide environmentally sustainable, state of the art healthcare facilities for our patients and we have made a significant commitment to ensure that this new building will deliver on that ambition.