Mar 12, 2021

Work commences on our £60m redevelopment of Northgate Hospital

Construction has commenced on our £60m redevelopment of Northgate Hospital in Morpeth for NTW Solutions – Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

Designed around the concept of a ‘village campus’, the new medium secure hospital at the heart of the development, provides a wide variety of indoor and outdoor settings for relaxation and activity, relieving boredom and lowering the risk of challenging behaviours and poor physical health. The main contractor for the works is Sir Robert McAlpine.

The redevelopment of Northgate Hospital will provide a total of 116 male inpatient beds, located in a combination of new and reconfigured existing buildings. The new-build element will provide inpatient accommodation for 74 male patients with a range of forensic mental health needs, including patients with complex personality disorders and / or learning disabilities.

A village campus that mitigates boredom

The overarching vision is to provide a ‘village campus’ focusing on the individual patient and staff experience, breaking down the accommodation into several buildings arranged around the site.

It is well recognised that in secure mental health units, boredom leads to challenging behaviours and poor physical health. The campus has been designed to ensure that as many spaces as possible, both inside and out, offer opportunities for mitigating boredom and provide a meaningful day for patients. This is achieved in a range of settings; from bedrooms to living spaces; sheltered gardens to open courtyards; and opportunities for both structured and unstructured activity and sports. This includes an outdoor ‘kickabout’ area and a sports barn.

Therapeutic environments for mental and physical wellbeing

The six wards are paired together and arranged around the large, shared recreation space. At the centre of each ward is a landscaped courtyard for relaxation and between each pair is an activity courtyard, marked out for exercise and sporting activities. This arrangement offers close access to a variety of different types of space with a focus on mental and physical wellbeing.

The eastern part of the site is covered by a broad area of mature woodland, which is owned and managed by the Trust. The steep topography of the site has created unique opportunities to exploit the visual interest of its natural setting.

In each ward the bedrooms are arranged to face outwards, with views across to the surrounding mature woodlands. The majority of the day activity and living space is at the centre of the ward with easy access to the courtyards. Abundant daylighting, attractive views and a sense of spaciousness contribute to the therapeutic nature of the environment and play an important role in patient treatment and rehabilitation.

Challenging the stigma around mental healthcare

The visual appearance of the new hospital is extremely important and has a major role to play in reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness, as well as engendering pride in the building as a workplace for members of staff.

A consistent and controlled palette of materials and architectural styles has been developed to integrate the building with the most recent additions to the site and to present a positive image for visitors and new arrivals.

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