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6 February 2024

Strategic refurbishment at Freeman Hospital complete

Work has completed on a strategically important ward refurbishment project at Freeman Hospital to create an environment for care that is supportive to clinical staff, and reassuringly calm for patients.

The transformation was delivered by Robertson Construction North East for the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and designed by Medical Architecture.

The work forms part of the Newcastle Hospitals Internal Improvement Programme, which is a result of the Trust’s estates strategy, developed in partnership with Medical Architecture. 

As well as the continuation of clinical ward refurbishments, this phase of work includes upgrades to a set of prominent lift lobbies and circulation spaces.

Working to a consistent design standard, particular attention is given to design for patients with dementia and frailty, as well as technical standards and guidance compliance, working within the constraints of the existing structure. The aesthetic is light and bright, with good quality and well-coordinated ceilings, lighting fixtures and finishes. 

Working with the Trust’s dementia team, an artistic approach to wayfinding was developed to aid those with cognitive impairment, with different rooms and spaces identified by their own unique local landmark. Biophilic design principles were incorporated in the upgraded circulation and lobby spaces to improve the environmental qualities of these high-traffic spaces.

Attention to detail was crucial, as space was often limited. This included making sure that furniture was well-planned and considered, to provide optimal facilities for clinicians. Generously sized equipment bays were also provided to ensure that circulation spaces are left clutter free and accessible.

Garry Hope, Managing Director, Robertson Construction North East, said: “Continuing our close relationship with the Trust, these improvements were delivered with the end-users in mind to create bespoke spaces that will support the NHS in its delivery of excellence in healthcare.”

Alex Ferguson, Architect, Medical Architecture, said: “These strategic upgrades will make a big difference to the experience of patients, staff, and visitors, demonstrating that relatively modest but well-planned interventions, can create high-quality spaces that deliver excellent value to the Trust.”

Russell Jones, Deputy Director Strategy, Planning & Capital Development, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “A great deal of engagement, care, and attention to detail was accomplished in developing these design standards and branding for the Trust’s clinical upgrades. It is fantastic to see the results where environments are transformed for the betterment of clinical care, patient experience and staff wellbeing.”

Robertson previously delivered the Freeman Hospital Day Treatment Centre for the Trust. Built to tackle the COVID-19 backlog, it was transformed from a staff car park into a state-of-the-art surgical facility in just 10 months.