Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

Northumbria hospital reception

Northumbria hospital reception

Operational from 16th June 2015, the targeted BREEAM ‘Excellent’ Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital is a new build facility located on the edge of Cramlington, to the north of Newcastle.

The £75 million pioneering development will provide a uniquely comprehensive range of emergency care to patients with specialist consultants and senior doctors available at all times to deliver expert emergency treatment. The 30,000m2 building includes inpatient wards, accident & emergency care, operating theatres, critical care, maternity and paediatrics, radiology, MRI and X-ray facilities, a pharmacy, mortuary, pathology department and Cafeteria.

At the centre of the development is a three-storey radial central hub that houses laboratories, the radiology department and operating theatres. Surrounding the hub is a series of ‘cogs’ that contain wards on one side with the entrance and ambulance podiums on the other. The hub has been designed without movement joints to mitigate the disruption these would cause to the radial room layouts whilst also improving infection control by removing the need for cover strips over the joints that could harbour bacteria.

The clinicians’ vision for the hospital differed to standard health sector practice; their ambition was to create a pioneering facility that focussed on patient pathways, adjacencies, nursing efficiency and sight lines. Through close collaboration the design team from Ramboll and architect Keppie Design worked alongside clinicians to ensure this vision was realised and achieved a column layout that would enable direct lines of travel between wards and central functions therefore maximising efficiency in staff travel. In addition a radial layout which  allows clear sightlines into each patient room from a central nursing station evolved from direct input by clinical staff during the design process.

To optimise room layouts a concrete frame solution was chosen as this allows the position of the columns to be offset between floors and ensures clinical spaces are not compromised. In response to vibration considerations, Ramboll developed in-house software to model how floor plates react to vibration sources such as footfall. This allowed the slab depth to be optimised with the floor slab depth being increased in some locations to meet the specific vibration criteria of sensitive rooms. The required slab depth depends on the use of the room and is critical to not only patient comfort but also the functioning of vibration sensitive equipment including MRI scanners, X-ray machines, microscopes and equipment in theatres. 

Working on the project from concept design to completion, Ramboll’s contribution was wide-ranging and included structural engineering, civil engineering, environmental and geotechnical consultancy services. A sustainable drainage system was designed and intensive ground investigations carried out to ensure the run off from site was no greater than the existing greenfield condition. This was achieved through the use of attenuation ponds to the north and south of the site. Ramboll also contributed to the design of a mounded helicopter pad, collaborating with a specialist consultant to orientate and position the helipad to give clear flight paths for landing and take-off.

The level of the building and hard standing areas were designed by the Ramboll Civil engineering team through the use of 3D earthworks modelling to minimise the volume of earth to be moved around the site and ensure that no additional material was required to be brought onto site. This offered considerable cost and programme savings. 

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director of NHS England commented: “This hospital is a glimpse of the future and sets the standard for other NHS organisations across the country. This purpose built facility will have the right people, at the right place, with the right equipment. We should be proud of this hospital offering excellent emergency care for the local population.”

Northumbria Hospital was recognised at the 2015 Building Better Healthcare awards, receiving a Highly Commended status in the Best Acute Hospital Development Award. Find out more on our Awards page.


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