Work begins on new Berwick Hospital

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 4-Mar-2023

Merit begins construction utilising offsite methods to improve sustainability, project speed, and overall quality

Construction of Berwick’s new £35m hospital has begun after the appointment of Merit as lead construction partner by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. 

A large part of the construction is taking place offsite at Merit’s dedicated factory in Cramlington.

As well as being able to complete a build at a much-faster rate, with significantly less disruption, Merit’s use of offsite cutting-edge technology ensures high-quality prefabricated designs and building techniques are maximised to meet the high standards healthcare facilities require.

Responsible for a large proportion of the hospital’s services infrastructure and fitout, Merit will manufacture 650 pre-assembled modules (PAMs) weighing around 195 tonnes in total and 17 UltraPODs weighing around 300 tonnes.

The PODs will house all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing services, including power, lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and fire alarm systems.

The PAMS, which will sit underneath the PODs in the ceiling framework, will act as the distribution network for services into the hospital building.

Merit’s chief executive, Tony Wells, said: “We have been working closely with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumbria Healthcare Facilities Management to develop a design that is zero carbon emissions, has built in infection control, and is technically enabled for the future of healthcare. 

Something to be proud of

“This is 21st-century construction in action and it is always exciting to reach important milestones in a project of this size and scale, and this is certainly one of them.” 

Mark Brough, Merit Health’s project manager, added: “A very-special part of the project will be when the PAMs and PODs are transported to site. It is quite a spectacle to see!”

Originally built in 1874, the current infirmary is no longer suitable for the efficient delivery of modern-day healthcare.

The new purpose-built hospital will reprovide all existing services to deliver care closer to people’s homes as well as housing a GP practice. 

Once the main build is complete, demolition of the remaining old hospital buildings, with exception of the clock tower, will be carried out, the car park and access roads will be built, and landscaping work completed.

Marion Dickson, Northumbria Healthcare’s executive director and project lead, said: “Our new hospital will not only provide top-quality healthcare well into the future, but will also provide a much-improved environment for our staff and patients, enable additional services to be provided, and support staff recruitment and retention.

“It will be something that Berwick, and indeed Northumberland and the North East, can be very proud of.”

The new hospital is expected to open by the end of 2024.


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