Freeman Hospital Day Treatment Centre, Newcastle


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The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
August 2022
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Building capacity to tackle the COVID-19 backlog with a brand-new hospital facility

Freeman Hospital Day Treatment Centre was transformed from a staff car park into a state-of-the-art surgical facility in just 10 months.

With four operating theatres, including two Ultra Clean Ventilation (UCV) and associated two-stage recovery, the Freeman Hospital Day Treatment Centre provides thousands of non-complex operations and procedures each year.


patient treated in three months


months to build


pink hi-vis vests

The neurology, musculoskeletal health, plastic surgery, and cardiology procedures carried out in the new facility have freed up the main hospital to focus on more complex operations, helping to significantly reduce the medical backlog brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Close collaboration to overcome severe time pressures

Fast-tracked through Emergency COVID-19 planning legislation, the team faced the huge challenge of constructing the hospital in just 10 months.

To overcome this timescale, the project was costed, designed, and built, all in tandem. The team managed the design and construction works simultaneously, without impacting the programme's critical path items, due to creative solutions, strong collaboration, and determination.

Working closely from the very start, the design and construction teams devised a strong plan that served them well throughout the construction. With very limited space, they also teamed up with the key members of the supply chain early on, to meticulously plan material deliveries and when teams would be on site.

As with all our projects, our supply chain partners were chosen based on quality, expertise, and reliability. Each was of the highest calibre and could be trusted at every stage of the process.

This was an incredibly challenging scheme to say the least given the pace at which we had to move along with site constraints, logistics and budget. The collaborative approach across contractor, designers, PMs, and operations was so refreshing to see and at the centre of the project's success.
Russell Jones
Deputy Director (Strategy, Planning & Capital Development)

This close collaboration was key to the success of the construction project.

Blue light route and staffing challenges

The 10-month timeframe and limited space on site weren't the only challenges facing our construction team.

The team had to close and set up an alternative blue light route for 10 weeks, to keep the main hospital operational throughout the build. They also had to manage 200 staff on site simultaneously on the live hospital campus.

As with the timescale pressures, the secret to overcoming these challenges was close collaboration, exceptional communication, meticulous planning, and creative problem solving.

Supporting Organ Donation Week with a pink hi-vis vest campaign

Despite the challenging nature of the project, the positivity shown by the team was clear to see and something that caught the attention of a family who were visitors to the hospital during the construction.

Two-year-old Beatrix was awaiting a heart transplant, and her family published a message on social media about the Robertson team.

I am delighted with the outcome and it is already having such a positive impact on patient care and experience. Everyone at Robertson Construction should be very proud of what you have achieved.
Russell Jones
Deputy Director (Strategy, Planning & Capital Development)

As a result, we decided to support Organ Donation Week by having pink hi-vis vests created to raise awareness. These were then worn by over 500 of our staff at NHS sites around the UK.

A project to be proud of

The Freeman Hospital Day Treatment Centre was delivered under highly unusual circumstances and the team showed creativity, innovation, and drive to overcome many obstacles.

This determination, energy and commitment now means that many people are benefiting from this centre, receiving the surgical care they need, on a daily basis.