Publish date: 16 February 2021

Northumbria Healthcare invests £5.5 million into Wansbeck General Hospital theatres revamp

An artist's impression of a new theatre. There are several people wearing blue scrubs.

Over 28,000 people will benefit from a £5.5 million revamp for one of Northumbria Healthcare hospital’s theatres.

The investment from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, will see operating theatres at Wansbeck General Hospital in Ashington, undergo a makeover that will improve patient care and experience.

The refurbishment of the six theatres will include a significant upgrade of theatre equipment and space redesign to improve staff and patient flow.  The creation of an enhanced environment for patients and working area for staff will improve the air flow, reducing the risk of infection during surgery.

The renovation began on the 26 January and is expected to last several weeks. The project team have put a detailed programme in place to minimise disruption for patients and visitors to the hospital. It is part of the trust’s ongoing investment in its facilities across Northumberland and North Tyneside to continue to deliver the highest standards of care for patients.

Since the opening of the Northumbria hospital, Wansbeck hospital has been a centre of excellence for planned and ongoing care and performs almost 7,000 operations every year. Around half of these are orthopaedic operations such as hip and knee replacements.

Marion Dickson, Executive Director of Nursing Midwifery and AHPs and executive sponsor of the project explained: “Here at Northumbria Healthcare we strive for the best for our staff and our patients and we are always pushing the boundaries. A huge investment like this in our estate demonstrates that, even in the face of a global pandemic, we remain focused on continued improvement.”

The revamp will see the introduction of more laminar flow theatres which will provide more flexibility to accommodate different types of surgery, including spinal and orthopaedic surgeries. As a result, this will make the running of the department more efficient and could lead to shorter waiting times for patients.

Mr Scott Muller, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and lead for the project, said: “We have a highly skilled workforce who deliver surgical care to people from across the region and beyond. With this investment, our theatres will become a state-of-the art facility that reflect the highest standards of care that our patients rightly expect. This redevelopment will ensure the facility remains best in class thereby cementing Wansbeck hospital as a major provider of elective surgery for years to come.”

James Almond, Director at P+HS Architects said: “P+HS Architects is delighted to be working with Northumbria NHS on this important project. The major refurbishment will transform the hospital’s existing facilities to provide six state of the art operating theatres and ancillary support accommodation. Our team have worked closely with staff and clinicians to incorporate the latest technology, agree layouts and optimise workflow to ensure that the new facility will deliver the best patient experience and a safer, more efficient working environment, fit for 21st century healthcare demands and leading in the fightback to recovery post-Covid19.”

Adrian Parkin:  Contracts Manager, Medical Air Technology (MAT) said: “MAT was delighted to negotiate the turnkey refurbishment of Theatres 1-6 at Wansbeck Hospital.  We made a successful site commencement of Phase 1 (Theatres 5 and 6) at the end of January, and we are looking to progress with the remainder of the theatres during 2021.  Thanks to the teams’ support, guidance and quick response to all technical and clinical matters, we have managed to start works within less than two months of receiving an order to proceed.”