Freeman Hospital

Ensuring health lives and promoting wellbeing

Tackling the after-effects of the pandemic
  • Category
    Health and Wellbeing
  • Awarded
  • Outcome
    Regional winner

Proof of concept

Tackling the backlog

The COVID-19 pandemic and its after-effects left enormous challenges including up to 4 year waits for elective surgery, leaving people distressed and in pain from issues that could be addressed by routine surgeries. This award was received for the Day Treatment Centre (DTC) at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne, a brand-new facility designed to provide day surgeries and reduce waiting times for patients on elective surgical pathways. 

  • The £22.1m scheme went from a blank sheet of paper to its first patient contact in only 10 months.
  • the DTC was enabled through the use of the emergency permitted development rights
  • The facility will enable procedures traditionally done with an overnight stay to be done on the same day.


Key facts

Occupancy rate in year one
operations bought forward
Occupancy rate in year one
additional patients per year
Occupancy rate in year one
new onsite jobs

Cutting waiting times

How/why did the project benefit the public?

The development of the DTC has significantly reduced the COVID-19 backlog for vital surgeries in the North East and will enable wait times to return to, indeed improve upon, pre-COVID levels. Through the reduction of bed days, the DTC will also allow prioritisation of more urgent and serious procedures.

In addition to the 202 construction jobs created during its construction, the DTC has resulted in 187 new full time jobs benefitting local people and the local economy.  

The DTC build also utilised a high degree of off-site manufacturing followed by rapid installation onsite which reduced the carbon emissions associated with the build to a minimum. It has been designed to transition to net zero by 2030.

What were local planners looking to achieve on the project?

  • • To support the essential need for the new facility.
  • • To help enable the construction to commence under emergency permitted development rights.
  • • To support DPP and The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NuTH) to obtain planning permission to retain the building beyond 2022.
  • • To help support a scheme which is helping to deliver healthy lives and wellbeing for the community.

Justifying the need

How were local planners essential to the project’s success?

Local planners were at the forefront of dialogue with DPP and NuTH and were essential in helping to enable to scheme through the use of the emergency permitted development rights. Local planners were also keen to remain involved with DPP/NuTH throughout design and construction. Without this essential dialogue the accelerated build programme under the emergency permitted development rights could not have taken place and the goal of the project which was to build the DTC as soon as practically possible to address the significant wait times caused by COVID-19, would not have been achieved.

Dialogue with local planners was imperative from the outset of the project and helped DPP/NuTH to deliver the project in very short timescales which was vital to help ensure that government funding could be unlocked.

Health and wellbeing

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Health and wellbeing