Merit to deliver modular unit for Norfolk Community Trust in 5 months

Northumberland-headquartered Merit, the UK’s leading industrialised construction and digital manufacturing specialist has been appointed by Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) to design and deliver its new 48 bed modular unit on the Norwich Community Hospital site in Norfolk. The multimillion-pound modern facility, which has been designed with sustainability in mind, will be delivered in only 5 months.

News of Merit’s appointment follows NCH&C’s announcement in August 2023 that it was one of thirty NHS organisations awarded funding to provide more beds and increase capacity to help relieve hospital pressures and cut waiting lists.

The therapy-led unit, named Willow Therapy Unit following a vote by NCH&C staff, patients, families, and local residents, will improve the transition of patients from hospital care to the community, helping to ease pressure on local acute hospitals.

A multidisciplinary team of clinical professionals dedicated to patient recovery and wellbeing will be based at the new facility, which will play a key role in the delivery of patient-centred, supportive care in Norfolk and Waveney.

The state-of-the-art facility will include a combination of single and four-bedded bays, as well as treatment areas, an assessment kitchen and self-service café area where patients can make drinks for themselves and their families, staff amenities and a reception area. Merit’s expert in-house design team have curated a facility which prioritises ease of access whilst also catering to the footfall requirements of both patients and staff.

Utilising advanced 4D BIM modelling technology and a product-based approach, Merit’s offering is especially suited to meet the current needs of healthcare facilities, enabling the highest level of infection control and easy adaptability for future needs.

Pioneering a new approach to the industrialisation of construction, Merit will be delivering this facility using its new V6 UltraPOD® SFS variant. UltraPOD® is Merit’s expandable full building solution that can be configured to create multiple types of buildings for a variety of uses.

As Merit seeks to continually optimise its way of working to better serve and meet its customer’s needs, the new UltraPOD® SFS variant, utilises Merit’s latest roll former, panel line production system to enhance affordability and accessibility through a significantly reduced programme. The V6 platform comes as standard, rated BREEAM Excellent as a minimum, EPC-A, and energy consumption is 69% lower than current CIBSE hospital benchmarks.

Tony Wells, CEO at Merit, commented: “We’re delighted to be working collaboratively with Norfolk Community Health & Care NHS Trust to deliver this new facility, which will bring improved healthcare services to the local community. Merit’s new UltraPOD® SFS variant is ideal for this project, bringing enormous advantages in terms of speed, quality, a sustainable centric design, enhanced infection control and affordability.

At Merit, we’re continually looking for new ways in which to innovate and optimise our product offering, so that we can provide the go-to choice for swift and efficient project delivery. The traditional construction business model struggles with quality, affordability and accessibility, we believe our new UltraPOD® SFS variant will solve a range of customer problems, whilst simultaneously increasing overall UK healthcare building capability through our automated industry 4.0 factory solution to provide healthcare facilities of the future.”

Matthew Winn, NCH&C CEO, said: “We are extremely pleased to be working with Merit on this important project for the Norfolk and Waveney health and care system. Therapy-led care provided at the Willow Therapy Unit will help bridge the gap between hospital and home and allow local residents to seamlessly move from hospital back into their communities.”

Merit’s experience delivering similar projects for the health and care sector will be invaluable as we look to construct these beds quickly and help to relieve pressure on our local acute hospitals.”

Merit prides itself on its ability to design and deliver high-quality, technically complex facilities for the healthcare sector, with notable project wins including Berwick’s long-awaited new, 10,500m2 community Hospital, Solihull Hospital’s new Elective Hub (Operating Theatre Block) and a new build sterilisation services and decontamination supercentre for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.