Redeveloping Whitby Hospital for the health of the community
The redevelopment of Whitby Hospital has transformed an inefficient and underutilised 1970s community hospital into an integrated healthcare facility with a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. The experience for patients and staff is enhanced by a therapeutic community garden and spectacular framed views out across the historic coastal town.
Rationalising the site to enable integration
The original Whitby Hospital opened in 1979 as the first community hospital in England. However, over time the breadth of available services was vastly reduced, to the extent that the facility became significantly underutilised and inefficient. At the same time, the internal arrangement did not facilitate workforce integration; staff often worked in isolated parts of the sprawling building as services were not naturally aligned.
We worked closely with NHS Property Services, NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust to develop a strategic masterplan for a modern, fit for purpose health and social care hub, which supports the integrated delivery of primary care, secondary care, and community services, including a 16-bed inpatient ward. The sprawling site has been rationalised, focusing on the redevelopment of the seven-storey tower block and removal of the lower buildings. This frees up the remainder of the site for further development options, which includes a future extra care facility supported by the local authority, to further enhance the ‘health and home’ offer.
There will be multiple organisations delivering from here, so we will be able to really bring a multi-disciplinary, ‘home first’ principle to the care we deliver for the residents.
A holistic approach to health and wellbeing
A contemporary extension clearly identifies the new hospital entrance and responds to the steeply sloping site, affording pedestrian access across the site, which was limited previously. The reconfiguration takes advantage of the hospital’s elevated location overlooking the town and North Yorkshire coastline, with new windows and larger areas of glazing offering spectacular long views towards the harbour and Whitby Abbey. These landscape vistas provide a positive focal point for patients and an enviable working environment for staff.
It’s given everybody, staff and community, a real lift because of the specification of the building and what’s delivered here.
Comprehensive facilities for physiotherapy and rehabilitation, and a large accessible garden reflect the proactive approach to community health, encouraging movement, activity and time spent outdoors in nature. The therapeutic garden, co-designed with the local community, contains sensory planting, a paved walking route, and a variety of seating areas, creating a calm, secluded refuge for activity or contemplation.
Planning for the future with creative reuse
The redeveloped hospital preserves qualities of the existing building, retaining the 1970s staircase while adding modern elements which complement the original aesthetic. Care was taken to reuse as much of the existing building fabric as possible whilst ensuring the new facilities would support current and future models of care, through flexibility for adaptation.
Externally, a colourful, vertical fin facade wraps around the new two-storey extension and the bridge link to the main entrance, helping to ‘stitch’ together new and old and providing a new visual identity for the hospital. In contrast to the brickwork of the existing building, it acts as a focal point to clearly identify the entrance points and direct visitors easily through the site.
This development means a huge amount to the people of Whitby. It means they’re going to have a 21st century hospital facility, close to home, fit for purpose for the next 30 years.
We’re having some really amazing feedback, from test results that we do with patients that have been through our services, and also through an NHSPS questionnaire that we’ve had, where patients and staff have been able to feedback about how they feel about the new build.