‘Topping out’ ceremony at the UK’s first modular barn surgical theatre 

The UK’s first modular barn surgical theatre is being built by leading offsite manufacturing specialist, Premier Modular. On Friday 3 November, the company achieved a major milestone in the delivery of the project, and along with the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, held a ‘topping out’ ceremony at the new multimillion-pound surgical centre.

In attendance of the  ceremony, Rt Hon Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, was given a tour of the Kent and Medway Orthopaedic Centre, at Maidstone Hospital, to see the development of the project and celebrate the new building reaching its highest point.

Premier Modular was awarded the £19.8 million contract and began work in summer 2023. Offsite manufacturing was selected as the optimal construction method for the project, providing an efficient building solution with minimal disruption on a busy hospital site that can be delivered at speed to ensure patients can begin using the facility as soon as possible.

The Kent and Medway Orthopaedic Centre will provide three state-of-the-art operating theatres and 24 dedicated surgical beds, as well as an X-ray centre, therapy space, recovery area, admin space, single patient and ‘pod’ rooms. It will expand Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust’s capacity for routine orthopaedic operations, including more than 2,000 extra knee and hip replacements each year. The theatre complex is located behind the main hospital building and will focus on orthopaedic care for patients, helping deliver many more operations for patients across Kent and Medway, and reducing the length of time patients stay in hospital.

The development is part of a national scheme to deliver more than 50 new surgical hubs across England. It is estimated the new hubs will deliver almost two million extra routine operations to reduce waiting lists over the next three years, backed by £1.5 billion in government funding.

Dan Allison, Divisional Director of Premier Modular said: “We are making great headway with this landmark modular construction project. It was an honour  to be able to show Greg Clark, MP, the facility’s progress, which will provide increased capacity for orthopaedic operations. Having only started working with the Trust earlier in the summer, the progress of the project really demonstrates the benefits that modular can bring both in terms of speed, and the quality of the environment. We’ve never seen modular construction being used for a barn theatre before and this new facility really is a shining example of the extremely high-performance and bespoke buildings it can deliver.”

Miles Scott, Chief Executive of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, said: “The Kent and Medway Orthopaedic Centre already looks impressive, and once finished it will expand our surgical capacity and help us do more for our patients. This new facility will make a huge difference for patients across Kent and Medway who are waiting for surgery and may be struggling to stay active, by helping them access expert care faster.”

Rt Hon Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, said: “I was so pleased to be able to visit the new Kent and Medway Orthopaedic Centre and see this investment in our healthcare. I know this will benefit patients across the region and tackle waiting lists which built up during the pandemic.

“Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust was the first in the country to have no long-waiting patients for routine treatment, thanks to the hard work of its staff. This new centre will build on this success and ensure more people can access life-changing operations more quickly.”

The modular firm collaborated with P+HS Architects and HMY Architects to finalise the initial concept and design.

Click to find out more about Premier Modular’s modular healthcare buildings and projects.

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