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FIRST LOOK: New Royal Victoria Infirmary hospital wing unveiled

FIRST LOOK: New Royal Victoria Infirmary hospital wing unveiled

Plans for the new Richardson Wing at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary, Image: Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Hospital bosses have unveiled a first look at a £190m new wing planned for Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

The “iconic” Richardson Wing would house many of the hospital’s specialist services, including critical care, a burn ward, and maternity.

The Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust recently launched a bid to the government to fund the massive project, as part of ministers’ pledge to pay for dozens of new hospitals to be built across the country.

And now a new image has been revealed showing how the major development would look, sitting next to the existing Leazes Wing on Richardson Road.

New documents setting out plans for the five-storey wing state that the project is needed to replace facilities that are in urgent need of upgrades as they “fall short of required building and clinical standards”.

It is also hoped that the creation of new wards and theatre space will help the hospital tackle a massive waiting list caused by delays to treatment during the Covid-19 crisis.

The hospitals trust said: “This new building will be a purpose-built home for many of the highly specialist services needed each year by thousands of patients from across our region and further afield, including Adult Critical Care, Burn Care, the North East Assisted Ventilation Service, specialist maternity services, and services for patients living with Cystic Fibrosis.

“These services operate best when they are close together. At the moment they are provided from a range of older buildings that are not good enough to help us care for patients well and also cost a lot to maintain. Some of the facilities need to be replaced, refurbished or upgraded urgently, because they don’t meet the standards we expect.

“The new specialist hospital building is one part of a ten-year building programme to address those issues. That programme includes a new day surgery treatment centre at the Freeman Hospital and plans for a new Children’s Heart Services unit next to the Great North Children’s Hospital.

“The proposed new building would be the most environmentally-friendly we’ve ever built. And it will give us more ward and theatre capacity to help our plan to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

A bid for the new wing, also being referred to as the ‘New Specialist Hospital’, was recently lodged with the Department of Health and Social Care’s New Hospitals Programme and it is hoped that the winners will be announced in the spring.

While the government has repeatedly pledged to build 40 new hospitals by 2030, it has faced criticism as the many of the schemes in the £3.7bn investment plan are in fact rebuilds of or extensions to existing facilities.

The proposed Richardson Wing would be built between the Leazes Wing and Crawford House, on land currently occupied by temporary cabins used for training and office space.

It would feature a main entrance with a reception area, patient information, a coffee shop and seating as well as a separate entrance for Fetal Medicine and the Women’s Health Unit.

Inside there would be a central ‘street’ through the building and three internal courtyards.

A new bridge link would also be built to the Leazes Wing, while staff and patients would also be able to access the roof of the building to “enjoy fresh air and landscaped spaces”.

 

Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter


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