UK’s first modular barn surgical theatre broadens NHS healthcare horizons 

Premier Modular is constructing the first modular barn surgical theatre in the United Kingdom. 

As the newest addition to Maidstone Hospital in Kent, the transformational orthopaedic section will be named as the Kent and Medway Orthopaedic Centre. The Centre will provide care for people from across the area and expand the capacity of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust for scheduled surgical procedures.

Due to the Trust’s need for an effective building solution with minimal disruption on a busy hospital site and as they needed use of the facility as soon as possible, Premier Modular was awarded the £19.8 million contract. 

The new Centre is a component of a larger national initiative to establish more than 50 new surgical hubs throughout England, performing over two million additional surgeries to shorten waiting lists over the following three years.

Current capacity problems can be solved by barn theatres, which are customised operating room in an open-plan surgical environment. Barn operating rooms, although currently few in number in the UK, have received widespread international acclaim for their capacity to increase the effectiveness of medical treatments. 

This summer marked the start of construction on the permanent unit, which will offer a surgical hub with three open-plan operating rooms, an X-ray facility, a therapy area, a recovery area, office space, single patient and ‘pod’ rooms, all under one roof, to support people from all around Kent and Medway. 

The structure will be situated away from the emergency room and main hospital building. With this layout, the new Centre will concentrate on providing patients with specifically tailored care, making it possible to do many more surgeries and shorten patients’ hospital stays.

Through the use of walls and HEPA filtration, theatre spaces will be improved to reduce the danger of cross-contamination and maintain high air quality throughout the entire facility.

In addition, the new unit will have various M&E components, including an air filtration system, which will be kept in a specially designed plant room. The building will employ a unique, dual pitched roof with reduced insulation depth to keep the building’s U-value as low as possible and will feature ceiling heights that reflect the Trust’s needs throughout the facility. 

From design to completion, Premier Modular is overseeing the manufacturing of everything above the building’s foundation and will use skilled logistical planning to complete the highly technical installation on a small site.  

To complete the initial concept and design, Premier Modular worked with P+HS Architects, HMY Architects and SES Engineering Services to provide the M&E facilities. 

Offsite manufacturing has experienced a recent boom in demand, and this trend is anticipated to continue as the demand for rapid, environmentally friendly building solutions increases. 

Premier Modular’s divisional director, Dan Allison, stated: “Maidstone Hospital’s iconic unit marks a turning point for off-site building and for healthcare. The project shows off the unparalleled ability of modular construction to quickly produce highly high-performance and custom buildings.

“We’re proud of this – the first ever barn theatre built using modular techniques in the UK. By pushing the boundaries of construction technology, the NHS – and other healthcare organisations – are not only reducing post-pandemic backlogs and waiting times but also cutting the carbon footprints of their buildings.” 

The surgical hub is expected to be completed in January 2024 and will treat its first patients in March 2024.  

Miles Scott, Chief Executive of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, said: “The development of the Kent and Medway Orthopaedic Centre is an important part of our work to reduce waiting times for patients across the region. The new facility will expand the Trust’s surgical capacity and enable patients across Kent and Medway to receive expert care more quickly.”  

To explore Premier Modular’s modular healthcare solutions in more depth, speak to our specialist team today.

To find out more, get in touch here or call us on 0800 316 0888.

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