Update on the Children’s Theatre Suite and Neonatal Intensive Care Projects

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Work is underway on NHS Tayside Children’s Theatre Suite and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit projects following Full Business Case approval by NHS Tayside Board and the Scottish Government.

The Children’s Theatre Suite project and the refurbishment of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Ninewells are important projects which will bring significant improvements to the way that children are cared for within NHS Tayside.

The new Children’s Theatre Suite will be a state-of-the-art facility allowing many more children to be treated in a child-friendly environment which has been designed by putting children at the heart of their care.

NICU is undergoing a complete refurbishment. This includes reconfiguring the layout of the ward to enhance the delivery of the specialist service provided the staff and make it more family friendly.

Click here to read more about the next phase of building works

Interim Chair Lorna Birse-Stewart said, “This really is a very exciting time for children’s services. I am delighted that the Children’s Theatre Suite and the NICU projects will involve significant investment by NHS Tayside – further enhancing the services provided for children in Tayside.

“The expertise and care given to children by NHS Tayside staff is first-class, and these two new projects will provide facilities to match.”

Around 3000 children have an operation at Ninewells every year. There is currently one children’s operating theatre and this may mean that some children have their operations in adult theatres.  The new Children’s Theatre Suite will double the current operating capacity and will ensure that the majority of children can be treated in child-friendly, age-appropriate spaces.


The new facility will provide two paediatric theatres with associated pre and post operative areas, including a bedded ward area. It will be located in the refurbished area previously occupied by the University’s Maternal and Child Health Sciences (MACHS) on level 5 at Ninewells, adjacent to the children’s medical ward (Ward 29).

Essential enabling works are already underway and the contractor is carrying out a three-month period of preparatory works to allow the main works to start in October. The new facility is due to be completed by November 2020.

The project is also supported by the ARCHIE Foundation which is donating £2million to make the environment that bit more special and exciting. The design team has been working closely with ARCHIE and a local architect to develop potential designs with input from families and the medical and nursing staff.

Editorial - NICU

The NICU project will see extensive refurbishment work carried out to improve the layout of the existing unit and create a bright, modern welcoming area in which safe and effective specialist care will be provided to babies.

NICU recently moved to Ward 31 and the transfer went very smoothly with staff, babies and families settled in their new temporary home.

Enabling work is underway in the NICU (Ward 40) and is on schedule to be completed at the start of October 2019. The main building works on Ward 40 will start in October and these are due to be completed in summer 2020.

Plans for the artwork and the environment of the new refurbished NICU are being developed.

After discussions between the Project Team and families it was agreed that each of the three nurseries would be named after a local river. The nurseries will be named ‘Tay’, ‘Earn’ and ‘Esk’ after local rivers to reflect the different areas of Tayside.

Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust (THAT) held a competition inviting artists to submit their designs for the refurbished unit based on a ‘nature outside, nature inside’ theme.


Local artist Freya Cumming was chosen as the winner of the Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust art competition and examples of some her lovely eye catching designs are included here.

The overall theme of Freya’s designs very much capture the river theme in soft muted colours and would create a welcoming environment.

For more information on the projects contact:

Children’s Theatre Suite Project
Project manager Kirsty Hammond, kirsty.hammond@nhs.net

NICU Project
Project manager Jennifer Franklin, jennifer.franklin1@nhs.net

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