• 01 December 2020
  • News,

Almost £5m worth of work to transform wards across two Newcastle hospitals has been completed in just five months by Gateshead-based contractor Tolent.

The works completed across two wards at the RVI and one ward at the Freeman hospital have aided the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to respond to the second wave of COVID-19.

At the RVI, Ward 49 underwent a full design, reconfiguration and refurbishment from its existing model to create a new intensive care ward to care for COVID-positive patients. 

Now a 17-bed facility complete with standard air locks for patient isolation, the design of Ward 49 from P+HS Architects meets the needs of patients and staff operating in critical circumstances including the ability to ensure non-COVID emergency and elective work is able to continue.

The ward also benefits from the highest levels of technology available as well as much needed rest and quiet areas, creating a more comfortable working environment.

Works to Ward 48 in the RVI included a mechanical refurbishment to its ventilation system that enables all 29 beds to be used for COVID-positive patients.

At the Freeman Hospital, works to upgrade Ward 12 included a full refurbishment which is now an exemplar of a new Trust branding to be rolled out on future ward refurbishment programmes.

Working with Medical Architecture, the design of the new 27-bed ward focussed on simplifying design and improving the patient experience and compliance with dementia standards. Using carefully placed local landmarks as signposts to the entrance of patient spaces and the smart use of colours used, this helped give each area of the ward its own identity, helping patients navigate their way around the new facility.

Improvements were also made to elevate the quality of spaces for staff, including the nurses’ stations and better planning of each rooms’ fitted furniture to make the clinical teams’ jobs easier and accessible to all.

Thanks to the works completed, this ward was able to be used to help relieve bed pressures for non-COVID patients during the second wave of the pandemic.

David Thompson, regional director for Tolent, said: “I’m incredibly grateful to our teams who have worked around the clock to deliver such critical works for our brilliant NHS.

“Working in a live hospital environment during a global pandemic and still delivering an exceptional quality of work that is going to make real differences to the care of patients and the wellbeing of the staff who care for them is something we’re proud to have been involved in.”

Tolent is currently underway with a further £2.1m worth of ward refurbishment work at the RVI and is also on site in the Newbiggin area of Newcastle building a new medical centre worth £2.5m.

This increase in public sector jobs follows its success earlier this year when it delivered the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Sunderland back in March.

Completed in around three weeks with support from a regional-wide supply chain, the project included the transformation of a vacant commercial building into a fully functioning facility providing 460 beds.