May 5, 2020 @ 17:09 by Alison Cowie
The Gateshead-based construction contractor, Tolent, has played a pivotal role in the delivery of the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Sunderland.
Appointed to lead a regional-wide team to transform the vacant building in Washington into a facility that has the capacity to provide 460 beds for patients with coronavirus, Tolent worked around the clock to deliver the temporary hospital in just over three weeks.
Tolent CEO, Andy McLeod, said: “I am immensely proud of our teams who have shown incredible leadership, sensitivity and work ethic over the past few weeks.”
“The dedication shown by all on-site to deliver this project really captures the spirit of the region to come together and deliver when we need to. We will be forever thankful to our NHS for the service provided to us all throughout this time.
“It is testament to our reputation and capabilities within Tolent that we were selected for this project and we are privileged to have played our part in its delivery.”
At its peak, there were around 240 employees working 24-hour shifts to create the facility, which included the provision of 32 wards as well as modifications to the existing building to create pharmacy facilities and staff welfare areas.
Key subcontractors involved in the project included: Geoffrey Robinson, Kenmor, High Level, Wood-Tech, Alderclad, North East Civils, Newcastle Flooring, Proctor Flooring, Trojan Scaffold, Singelton Metalworks, Nixon hire and Wingate Electrical.
The hospital is for patients from across the North East and North Cumbria with staff – including nurses, physiotherapists and doctors – coming from NHS trusts across the region.
The Countess of Wessex opened the new hospital and was joined by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and chief executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens, for the opening on Tuesday, May 5.
Dame Jackie Daniel, chief executive of Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Completing this facility in a matter of weeks is a huge testimony to the power of pulling together to achieve a joint goal and all partners involved – from the NHS, construction contractors and partner organisations – have worked tirelessly to achieve this. My gratitude and thanks go to everyone involved.
“Health and care staff, and people in local communities across the region, can be reassured there will be additional beds for specialist care if it is needed.
“Of course, we hope there will be no need to use this extra capacity, but we do have everything in place to respond rapidly if need be.
“It’s important to emphasise that the safest thing everyone can do is to continue to follow official advice – wash hands thoroughly and regularly, stay at home if you can and protect our NHS.”