NHS Scotland / Health Facilities Scotland
Gordon James, Head of HFS
- Peter Moran
- David Ross
- Jim McKechnie
- Suzanne Mackrell
- Colin McFadyen
- Lynn Clark
- Maria Coogans
- Eileen McGhie
- David Thomson
- Kim Riddell
- David Stirling
“I want to offer my sincere gratitude and thanks to the designers, contractors and NHS Scotland staff who have come from across Scotland to work tirelessly to transform the SEC into the NHS Louisa Jordan. You are an inspiration to us all. The decision on patients being accepted at the NHS Louisa Jordan will be reviewed on a regular basis. I hope this facility will not be needed as, alongside the public’s continued efforts to stay at home, NHS Scotland has already taken steps to increase the number of NHS beds. The exceptional efforts of everyone involved in creating NHS Louisa Jordan during this unprecedented public health emergency will ensure this national facility will be able to treat patients from across Scotland, helping to save lives and protect our NHS.”
Jeane Freeman, Scottish Government Health Secretary
THE HOSPITAL NOBODY WANTS TO SEE OPEN
On 11 March 2020, COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) was classified by the World Health Organisation as a global pandemic. The urgent international response resulted in governments around the world introducing a series of measures to protect public health, to reduce the peak of the infection and to increase the capacity of existing medical infrastructure. As part of the Scottish Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic a temporary hospital was considered, to be delivered by the Scottish Government in conjunction with NHS National Services Scotland (NHSNSS).
The resultant hospital – known as the NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital – is a step-down facility for patients recovering from COVID-19. The priority of 300 beds were made available by mid-April 2020, with a further requirement to provide a total of over 1,000 beds thereafter. The hospital facilities have been planned within the existing Scottish Event Campus buildings in Glasgow. Keppie were contacted by the NHSNSS on the Friday afternoon of the initial Government meetings, and the project was completed and ready to accept its first patients only 23 days later.
Keppie’s in-depth knowledge of the existing SEC buildings from our ongoing project to extend the facility was invaluable. It allowed us to develop a core concept for the hospital within hours of arriving on the project. That underlying concept remained the one that the whole project was based on.
The clinical brief was refined through an intense parallel design and procurement processes, which resulted in the following provision:
- A Lower Dependency Unit (LDU) of 941 beds equipped with piped oxygen services
- A Higher Dependency Unit (HDU) of 90 beds for patients
- Pharmacy services
- A 270 bay modular mortuary for the wider Glasgow area
- An ambulance station
- Staff changing and welfare facilities
The project was delivered within several significant time constraints. Due to the nature of the pandemic the programme for delivering the facility was extremely compressed at circa 3 weeks from inception through design, procurement, construction, commissioning to handover to the NHS. By comparison the last project to deliver a facility with comparable number of beds in Scotland took over 10 years. The constrained availability of materials due to the severe restrictions placed on industry both in the UK and abroad, plus the impact of similar ‘NHS Nightingale’ projects having exhausted the supply chain were factors that influenced that design specification as well as the phased build programme.
With a number of work streams requiring to be progressed in a parallel timeline, a clinical group was formed including both Medical, Nursing and IPC involvement to take responsibility for clinical input to the design process. Led by HFS Principal Architect Susan Grant, engagement was held between the design team and the clinical group to identify the Design Deliverables which would impact clinical functionality and operations.
The Scottish Government requested all Local Authorities that ‘any temporary change of use of existing buildings to provide health care are not considered as “conversions”, in terms of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003, and will also be exempt from the requirement for a building warrant’. Simultaneously, the team engaged with Glasgow City Council (GCC) to explain the project scope and constraints, following which the Head of Planning confirmed in writing that ‘in the present extraordinary circumstance, it would not be currently expedient to seek that a planning application be lodged for the temporary use and works’.
On 19th April 2020, at 3pm, the project was officially handed over to the NHS. An inscription on the Welcome Board as the main entrance to the hospital reads:
‘The days and nights that have passed since we became involved in this unique and unusual project have been simultaneously exhausting, challenging, inspiring, and enthralling. We’ve witnessed an industry that talks a lot about the importance of team working – of multi-discipline and contractor collaboration – put that into immediate, unquestioning and trusting practice. Every cog and spoke of the wheel operating in sync to ensure it keeps turning and rolling towards its goal: the provision of a fully operational hospital capable of caring for over 1000 patients created from scratch in less than three weeks.
Although we are hugely proud to have watched initial scribbles composed on sketch pads and i-pads turn into physical manifestations almost overnight, this has only been possible as a result of the dedication and commitment of every person involved. From the fantastic SEC staff making their facilities and resources available to everyone at all times of the day, to those of the design and construction industry who gave their time and expertise selflessly. But perhaps most notable is the NHS staff themselves. Their adaptability and resilience leaves us in constant awe.
Everyone involved in this remarkable project dearly hopes that it will not be needed, and that the measures already put in place by the Government ensure that our existing NHS personnel and our existing hospitals aren’t stretched beyond capacity. But if it is required, the NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital will be primed and ready; its patients being cared for by some of the most exceptional people we’ve come across.’
(The NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital Design and Delivery Team, 19th April 2020)