The proposed development
The proposal for the new centre comes in response to the outcome of an NHS review on the future of children's heart services. The Government committed £41.7million to this project in 2019. Newcastle Hospitals will soon apply for planning permission to build the centre so that building work can start next year.
This new state-of-the-art building will become home to children’s heart services, including transplants, and will bring together all of the trust’s paediatric specialties on one site for the first time. This will mean that young patients – and their families – do not have to travel between the Freeman Hospital and the RVI for different care and treatment.
The new centre will have three floors and include inpatient admissions, accommodation to support outpatient activity and more space for surgery to take place. A major feature of the building will be a direct and enclosed link bridge from the existing Great North Children’s Hospital making it easier to move between them.
Other key features of the building include:
The ground and first floors will be for patients, visitors and staff, with the top floor accommodating all the equipment and machinery to power, heat and ventilate the building.
The building is formed of two main parts separated by an open and welcoming glazed main entrance with a reception area. There will also be a small waiting area and garden space.
To one side of the entrance will be the outpatients department and access to wards and lifts to intensive care and theatres on the floor above.
Outside there will be therapy and play spaces for patients which will help to support their recovery. The new centre will also have lots of natural light, space and green areas.
Key internal spaces comprise a playroom providing a variety of settings for children of different ages which will include soft play, write on walls and tables and chairs for crafts. An adolescent sitting room will provide a more mature environment for teenage patients with space to play video games, listen to music and read.
Vehicle access will be via a one-way road system to the south of the site. Pedestrian access from Queen Victoria Road will be provided at existing points to the north and south of the building. Crossing points over the road provide access to the site, including from the new multi-storey car park to the west of the building.
The development will be environmentally friendly to help deliver the Trust’s Climate Emergency Strategy and the commitment to become a net zero carbon organisation by 2040. The building will represent the Trust’s most energy efficient building, setting an example for future healthcare projects.
The design team has developed a series of key design principles to work towards the goal of the building being net zero in operation. Based on these key criteria, the scheme has been developed to include the following sustainable solutions:
100% electric energy system removing the need for fossil fuels
Highly insulated and airtight building envelope to reduce heating and cooling requirements
Use of roof top photovoltaic panels to offset all regulated energy
Incorporation of green roofs where practical
Provision of permeable paving where possible, improving the sustainable urban drainage system in contrast to the existing non-permeable surface car park