GRL worked around the clock to complete specialist works at NHS Nightingale Hospital North East 

North East-based mechanical and electrical (M&E) building services company, Geoffrey Robinson Ltd (GRL), has completed the installation of mechanical and electrical (M&E) and small-scale joinery services at the new 460-bed NHS Nightingale North East Hospital (Nightingale) in Sunderland.

Initially asked to advise on the possibility of a Nightingale hospital in the region, GRL was directly   appointed to the scheme on 28th March by Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust. Tolent was also directly appointed to the scheme to work alongside.

In addition to its own dedicated team of engineers and site operatives, GRL turned to other local contractors and galvanised a team that would pull out all the stops to deliver the emergency scheme to support hospitals from across the region in the fight against Covid-19 coronavirus, against an incredibly challenging time frame.

Working simultaneously alongside the main contractor, to convert the empty 9000 2 mtr unit, which is owned by Sunderland City Council and was earmarked for use by Newcastle and Sunderland universities as an innovation centre, focusing on the future of manufacturing, including electric cars, GRL’s team, which included operatives from SES Engineering Services, Medi-Plumb (medical gasses engineers), Hadrian Air Conditioning, Phillips Commissioning, Aggreko – Generator Supplies, Integrated Utility Services, ACS and Bender -Uninterruptable Power Supplies as well as Solo Blinds, worked double shifts with 190 people on site at any one time.

During construction, GRL has installed some 48 kilometres of cable – the length of 400 football pitches placed end to end – 12,000m of copper pipework and 2,500m of ventilation ductwork along with 920 oxygen outlets – vital for nursing patients with the associated respiratory symptoms.

Speaking about his pride at being asked to deliver the project from the outset and the unfaltering team approach adopted from the sub-contractors, GRL’s managing director, Neal Robinson said:

“It was both humbling and a privilege to be able to support the NHS and wider regional community in this way. Everyone working on the project has pulled together and shown what can be achieved in what can only be described as unprecedented circumstances. The atmosphere on site was a once in a lifetime feeling of comradery and willingness to work as one big team to get this done for the health of the people in the North East and I’d like to thank everyone involved in making it happen.”

Expressing her gratitude Dame Jackie Daniel, chief executive of Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This new NHS Nightingale Hospital will provide extra, specialist capacity to care for coronavirus patients from across the North East and North Cumbria, should the NHS need it.

“Completing this facility in a matter of weeks is a huge testimony to the power of pulling together to achieve a joint goal and all partners involved – from the NHS, construction contractors and partner organisations – have worked tirelessly to achieve this.  My gratitude and thanks go to everyone involved.

“Health and care staff, and people in local communities across the region, can be reassured there will be additional beds for specialist care if it is needed.

The Nightingale Hospital North East was officially opened by The Countess of Wessex who was joined by Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, chief executive of the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens, and local celebrities Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly via video link and live streamed.