Designs have been revealed of the proposed £220 million new children’s hospital in Cambridge, ahead of the planning application submission later this year.

The plans were revealed to councillors of the hospital, which hopes to integrate research, mental, and physical health services. The hospital would be a partnership between Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) which runs Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Rosie Hospital, and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), which runs the areas mental health services, alongside the University of Cambridge.

The scheme is set to cost £220 million, with £20 million expected from land sales, with an opening target of 2025, following a construction commencement in 2023.

Oliver Milton, partner at Hawkins\Brown Architects, one the designers of the scheme, said “The design looks to create a healing environment and that means thinking about how we bring in fresh air and natural daylight, and provide connections to the outdoors. We’ve got different needs for different types of patients to think about. We’ve got some patients who will be here for a very long time. We need to think about them as well, by providing a home from home.

We want to try and think about how we can mitigate the kind of daunting effects of visiting hospitals for young people and try and provide a bit of them that can reflect some of everyday domestic life. By using domestic materials, we can provide spaces for family life to continue as far as possible. We need to ensure that Cambridge Children’s Hospital can adapt and change, and hospitals have been very bad at this in the past. To do that we’ve developed a set of adaptable design principles that look to design spaces across a range of different uses that can be fitted into a range of different spaces – and finally it should be a child-centric facility.

We’ll be doing lots of work with the young people’s groups to understand what they see, what they want out of the hospital, and how they perceive what would be welcoming, and what would be the types of places and spaces they would want to come into. Some of the themes coming out of that are the incorporation of colour, for example, the incorporation of access to outdoor spaces, the access to nature and spaces for play. We’re trying as hard as we can to ensure that we are talking to young people and the patients of the hospital, and the future patients of the hospital in the way in which we determine what we mean by playful and how we incorporate playfulness in the design.”

It is estimated that the hospital will have a 30,000 sq. metre footprint, with 5,000 sq. metres of research space.

The proposed designs are visions of how it may look once complete, with councillors given the opportunity to review the designs prior to the formal planning application being submitted.

The designs have been made by a team of experts from Turner & Townsend, Hawkins\Brown, White Arkitekter, Ramboll and MJ Medical, as well as staff from other organisations, to find how the scheme would work best. Members of Cambridge Children’s Network were also able to give input.

Carin Charlton, director of capital, estates and facilities management, said “This is the only region that doesn’t have a dedicated children’s hospital. And what this scheme – Cambridge Children’s – seeks to do is correct that. We are delighted that we have managed to secure central government funding to finally make this happen. This building will enable us to treat children in a whole new way to treat the child, and not the illness, and importantly to mental health and physical health.”

The scheme’s main entrance will be opposite The Rosie Hospital, and feature car and bike parking externally, as well as being close to Cambridge South Railway Station. Internally, there is a focus on maximising natural light, and creating individual patient rooms to enable families to stay where appropriate.  The building will be net carbon zero and constructed using ceramic and concrete panelling.

It is hoped that the hospital will provide care for children in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, and Bedfordshire, but also internationally due to its research and clinical expertise.

Project director Alex White said “This is an important next step towards developing the East of England’s first dedicated children’s hospital. These are early designs but it’s exciting to see our ‘whole child’ vision for integrated mental and physical health care at Cambridge Children’s Hospital taking shape. Our new facility will be a world-first, providing complete and seamless care for our region’s young people and their individual needs.”

Former health secretary Matt Hancock committed £100 million to the scheme from the government in 2018.

Image source- Hawkins/Brown and White Arkitekter

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