Minister opens County Antrim Nightingale hospital
Northern Ireland Health Minister, Robin Swann, has officially opened Northern Ireland's second Nightingale Hospital in County Antrim.
The new facility at Whiteabbey Hospital in Newtwonabbey will ultimately have up to 100 beds available to ease pressure on the region's COVID-19 wards in the event of further surges in cases over the winter period. TODD Architects was appointed architect and lead consultant to the project, working alongside Beattie Flanigan, Doran Consulting, and Currie & Brown as an integrated design team. The creation of the enhanced rehabilitation facility was only announced in September, and had the dual challenge of being delivered within a tight programme, and being located on the site of a working hospital. TODD Architects oversaw the delivery of the 100-bed scheme safely and at speed, while ensuring that the facilities met the strict healthcare requirements of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.
The new Nightingale will generally cater for low acuity / step-down patients well enough to leave an acute hospital, but who would benefit from a period of intensive rehabilitation. However, the scheme has been designed to provide some flexibility to step-up care when and if required. In the immediate term, it will be managed as a regional resource to support the response to COVID-19, but in choosing to remodel an existing hospital facility, it also provides a valuable longer-term healthcare asset for the region.
Andrew Murray, director at TODD Architects, said: “The successful delivery of this vital healthcare facility was the product of an incredible collaboration between the design team, main contractor, Dowds Group, the Northern Trust, and CPD Health Projects on a ‘live' hospital site. It has been amazing to witness the whole construction industry come together with purpose to support the tireless work of the NHS in this time of crisis.”
Nicholas McKee, Build manager at Dowds Group, added: “We were delighted to once again partner TODD Architects on another landmark hospital project. The works necessitated completion to an exceptionally high quality, with one of the tightest build programmes we've faced.”
This second Northern Irish regional Nightingale facility will differ from the acute Nightingale at Belfast City Hospital, focusing, as TODD Architects puts it, ‘on those coming to the end of their COVID-19 journey and in need of rehabilitative interventions’. The service includes a specialist team including doctors, nurses, and Allied Health Professionals – physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, dietitians, and rehabilitation assistants.
The first phase will provide an additional 23 beds for regional COVID-19 step-down patients. The remainder of the infrastructure will be available from early December 2020, with additional beds opened as soon as staff are available.