Delivery of £32Million north west health centre complete

Integrated Health Projects (IHP), a joint venture between VINCI Construction UK and Sir Robert McAlpine, has successfully completed the final phase of St Catherine’s Health Centre, a £32million landmark scheme in Birkenhead and in doing so has delivered one of the North West’s most innovative healthcare projects.

This Procure 21 development was recognised as an “exemplar” project in public sector procurement even before its completion.

Using a pioneering funding model and working closely with the local community, the project partners NHS Wirral, IHP (Vinci plc), Prime plc and One Creative Environments Ltd have totally transformed both the local area and its healthcare provision with the already award-winning St Catherine’s Health Centre.

Designed by One Creative Environments Ltd, the visionary four-storey 11,100 sqm facility has been built on the historic eight-acre site of the original St Catherine’s Hospital. Comprising five individual wings linked together by an internal street, which joins all the clinical areas, the design makes navigating around the building easy for any visitor.

Enhancing patient experience even before entering the health centre has been key to this regeneration project, with both design and access playing a pivotal role. Once bordered by walls or railings on all sides, the Grade II listed St Catherine’s Church has now become a central feature of the development. It has also earned the new health centre the affectionate name of ‘The Smile’ for the way it naturally curves around its Victorian neighbour. Indeed the site successfully combines a number of existing buildings and features such as an old lodge and an original entrance archway with modern design elements like the centre’s rainscreen cladding based on human DNA profiling. The whole site has been opened up transforming access while imaginative hard and soft landscaping has created a number of attractive focal points.

While the majority of services were able to undergo a phased move into the building after the completion of phase one last year, the final works have included the demolition of the old buildings on site alongside the creation of new public spaces and outdoor areas. ‘Finger’ courtyards have been constructed to provide clinical rehabilitation areas, quiet places for both patients and staff, while a children’s courtyard ensures fun with colourful play surfaces and bright planting.

Due to careful site planning, existing services at St Catherine’s stayed operational throughout, with many housed in existing buildings until a move into the new building was viable. In addition to GP facilities, St Catherine’s now brings together a range of Wirral Community NHS Trust and other NHS healthcare services as well as independent and voluntary sector agencies.

Chris Hamer, Managing Director, IHP, Building Division – North, said:

“We focused on community and patient needs to build a landmark facility and one stop shop for healthcare. This award-winning project was successfully delivered by a unique partnership between the Trust, Prime, One and IHP and I look forward to working with the team in the future.”

Leighton Chumbley, Group Managing Director for Prime plc, concludes:

“St Catherine’s is a pioneering project in the health sector and an example of true collaboration between the partners involved. IHP has managed the project well, bringing to life the vision for a state-of-the-art facility which will transform healthcare in Birkenhead and the surrounding area.”