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Gwent super-hospital opens four months ahead of schedule

The £350m Grange University Hospital (GUH) in Gwent, South Wales opens to patients today, Tuesday 17 November, four months ahead of schedule, in a bid to help the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) respond to winter pressures and Covid-19. The hospital is a key component of the Board’s Clinical Futures Programme, which is transforming health service delivery across the Gwent region.

Working closely with Gleeds and Laing O’ Rourke we designed and delivered several sections of the scheme to allow the building to open partially in April, almost a year earlier than planned,- in response to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases in the locality.

Following the Board’s recent occupation of the remaining space, the hospital will now provide a centre of excellence to treat the region’s most seriously ill patients, or those with significant injuries, and it will also act as the Emergency Department (A&E) for everyone living in Gwent. In the past, the Royal Gwent and Nevill Hall Hospitals have both provided these emergency medical services, but these will now be centralised to ensure the very highest standard of care is provided.

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Architect director, Adrian Hitchcock said: “Our design and project support has enabled Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to expedite the completion of The Grange University Hospital to help in Wales’ battle against Covid-19.

The design concept means the hospital was divided into three distinct zones, which could be progressed with a degree of autonomy from one another. This, along with the ability for us to adopt offsite fabrication of components for this project, has helped to make this extraordinary achievement possible today. This world-class healthcare facility will provide crucial and life-saving care for people of Gwent, now and for years to come.”

Victoria Head, Gleeds’ Head of Healthcare in the UK, said: “As work on the GUH project comes to a close and the building comes to life, welcoming patients and delivering first class healthcare services, I feel immensely proud about what our team has achieved – the provision of a fantastic facility, well ahead of schedule, and against the backdrop of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.

Our commitment to doing things differently has paid dividends, from a programme saving of 23% achieved through our use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), to our pledge to collaborate with BDP, Laing O’Rourke and the ABUHB throughout. The GUH has changed the rhetoric of how healthcare projects should be delivered; we must take this template into the future, striving for better in the construction industry and to support our wonderful NHS, to whom we owe so much.”

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Mike Lewis, Laing O’Rourke Project Director added: “I am extraordinarily proud of the team of people who have delivered GUH four months ahead of schedule amidst a global pandemic. Early handover was possible because we used MMC from the outset and in doing so were able to deliver 50% of the building to Aneurin Bevan University Hospital Board back in April – a year earlier than originally scheduled. This project marks a pivotal point in healthcare delivery, paving the way for future hospital builds.”

Being involved in a hospital build is always a privilege but the impact of Covid-19 truly galvanised everyone’s efforts. The team charged with completing the hospital felt a sense of personal responsibility to achieve early completion and as we hand over the keys to the Health Board I want to thank my own team and wish the clinicians and staff all the very best in their new hospital – and to thank them for the enormous efforts they make day in, day out to take care of us.”

The ABUHB provides a complete range of services for patients in Newport, Torfaen, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire and South Powys across 14 sites. The Health Board employs over 14,000 staff, two thirds of whom are involved in direct patient care.

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