Off-site construction of new £35m hospital for Berwick gets seal of approval
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Marion Dickson, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust’s executive director for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals and project lead said: “We’re very impressed with Merit’s offsite manufacturing capabilities which can fortunately bypass any bad weather and provide quicker solutions to the build of our new hospital.
“Our new hospital will not only provide high quality healthcare well into the future but will also provide a much-improved environment for our staff and patients, enable additional services to be provided and support staff recruitment and retention.
"It will be something that Berwick, Northumberland, and the North East, can be very proud of.”
The factory was recently visited by Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy.
They were able to view the start of the build of the 800+ pre-assembled modules (PAMs) and 17 UltraPODs® that will be delivered to site to form part of the state-of-the-art building.
The parliamentarians also received a demonstration of Merit’s factory robot, just one of the Industry 4.0 initiatives in progress along with computer numerical control (CNC) technology, automation and digitalisation.
Merit’s approach also offers a zero carbon emissions-design, class leading lower energy consumption, enhanced infection control and is technically enabled for the future of health care.
Ms Trevelyan said: “It’s really exciting to see the work being done on Berwick’s new hospital and it’s amazing that this area of the country will be the first to benefit from this modern solution to healthcare.”
Tony Wells, CEO at Merit, added: “We are delighted to be working closely with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumbria Healthcare Facilities Management (NHFM) to build the new Berwick hospital which will be completed by late 2024.
“It was great to welcome Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP and Ian Levy MP to our factory to show them the work being done on the region’s newest hospital and to explain how different manufacturing processes are being used to improve productivity.
“We believe that on a larger scale, this solution will bring affordability to the NHS with hospitals being built significantly faster with cost certainty.”
The hospital trust recently announced a number of upcoming changes to inpatient care as groundworks progress.
A new temporary ward for inpatients is being installed in the maternity car park to ensure that the new hospital opens on schedule towards the end of 2024.
The relocated 10-bed inpatient ward, which will have all the facilities and access that the existing one does, will admit inpatients from around mid-July.
Some patients that would usually be admitted to Berwick Infirmary will be cared for at Alnwick Infirmary and the trust will also care for as many patients as it can within the community.
Where a patient is cared for will depend on their clinical need and Northumbria Healthcare will provide transport for patients and relatives as appropriate.
Maternity, oncology, ambulatory care and minor injury unit services will remain within the Berwick Infirmary building and will not be affected. This will only affect patients being admitted to the infirmary.