Urgent and Emergency Care Facility (UEC)

Artists impression of Urgent and Emergency Care Facility reception.


University Hospitals Plymouth is on a journey to redevelop our healthcare estate as part of the government’s New Hospital Programme. The focus for phase one of the ‘Future Hospital’ programme will be on improved provision for our urgent and emergency care services at Derriford Hospital. This will involve the development of a new Urgent and Emergency Care Centre; a purpose-built facility, creating space to care for the sickest patients. We know that our population is growing at a faster rate than the national average and this building will allow us to manage the increase in patients we expect to see in the future.


UEC Benefits

Selected as one of 40 hospitals to benefit from the government’s Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP2) funding as part of the New Hospital Programme, we have exciting plans to develop Derriford Hospital. This phased development programme will start with building a new Urgent and Emergency Care Centre, at the top of the Derriford Hospital site. In phase one, our focus will be on delivering improved provision for urgent and emergency care. 

The New Hospital programmes in Plymouth, North Devon and Torbay will form an integral part of Devon’s Long Term Plan. As part of this, we are working together across the county’s health system and wider to ensure these exciting building schemes benefit patients from Devon and Cornwall.

Our Future Hospital Programme is a long term programme of change that will fundamentally transform how care is delivered, improving lives across Plymouth, Devon & Cornwall through investment in integrated clinical services, digital assets and estates. The new hospital programmes in Plymouth, North Devon and Torbay will form an important part of Devon’s Long-Term Plan. The plan will make sure healthcare services in Devon are fit for the future, providing high-quality care and better health outcomes for people and their families, through every stage of life. Our clinically-driven design has been informed over several years by best practice and through listening to the views of our patients and staff.

Artists impression of new ambulance bay with ambulances stationed in it.

Some of the main benefits of the programme include:

  • A purpose-built facility, offering new facilities for the sickest patients
  • Space to care effectively and efficiently for the increasing numbers of patients presenting with urgent and emergency conditions
  • A new Same Day Emergency Care Facility to reduce waiting times for those who need to be seen and treated but not admitted
  • State-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to support faster diagnosis as well as new interventional radiology theatres and surgical theatres to be able to treat patients more quickly and improve outcomes
  • Ability to treat patients from across Devon and Cornwall in a timely way in the most up-to-date healthcare environment
  • In addition to the facilities you would expect in an emergency department, the provision of a Same Day Emergency Care facility in the building will allow patients arriving in the Emergency Department to be rapidly assessed, diagnosed and treated, prior to being sent home all on the same day, avoiding unnecessary admissions. 
  • The centre will also include a frailty service providing multi-organisational rapid early specialist medical and social assessment and intervention, facilitating admissions avoidance and early discharge.
  • Being a new building, it will also provide a modern, compliant healthcare environment, creating a better patient experience and improving our environments for staff, with appropriately sized rest facilities and general welfare improvements.
  • The new build will include a 24-bed short stay ward for patients who require less than 24 hours in hospital, with a further 26 chair bays in the ambulatory area for patients who need to stay in hospital for up to 12 hours.


UEC Location

UEC Timeline

Timeline graphic using signposts.

The new 17,000m2 build will see the co-location of the Emergency Department with urgent care pathways and the addition of dedicated interventional radiology theatre capacity (hybrid theatres which bring real-time diagnostic imaging capabilities into the operating theatre). With planning permission secured, enabling work has already begun, and construction work is planned to start in 2023/2024.

We are really pleased that our Outline Business Case was approved by the December 2022 Joint Investment Committee, with no revisions to delivery timeline, and we look forward to an anticipated completion date of the works in 2025/2026.

2021: Outline business case submitted to NHSE/I

2022/23: Enabling works begin

Enabling works include the demolition of the Plym theatres building, the rerouting of utility services, and the build of a new electricity substation.

To enable space for the new building, there will also need to be a number of relocations. The children’s theatres have been provided in our freedom day-case building, and the fracture clinic will need to move to allow the creation of paediatric emergency department. Work is also ongoing to find a solution to the relocation of the Clinical Decisions Unit.


UEC Team and key partners

Nicki Collas

Associate Director, Future Hospital Programme

A Chartered Construction Manager, Nicki has led several major capital build programmes across the public sector and will lead the development of the Urgent and Emergency Care Facility as part of our ambitious and transformative build programme for Derriford and the wider community. In her spare time, Nicki is an active member of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and enjoys promoting the construction industry to future generations and challenging policy in key areas such as quality and sustainability. Nicki also enjoys sailing and paddleboarding in South Devon.

UEC Expected disruption

The Trust is undertaking large-scale building work and as a result of the improvement works, visitors may find the access route to the car park they normally visit has changed or there is a temporary closure.  Parking can take time at the region’s largest hospital, which sees approximately 13,000 patients and their visitors every week and has over 9000 staff.

It is recommended that patients and visitors to the Derriford hospital site plan their route in advance, check parking options, and allow extra time for their journey.

More parking information, including a site map.

UEC Sustainability benefits

Interventional radiology theatre

We will be using Modern Methods of Construction. This includes off site construction techniques to accelerate a build programme and in our case, minimise disruption to clinical activity and reduce noise, dust and vibration during construction.

We envisage a predominantly a concrete frame cast in situ but will be making use of precast concrete for some elements in the structure. The façade will be a panellised solution craned in to site with glazed curtain walling and some of the mechanical plant can be pre-assembled off site. Wall units and bathroom pods are another example of off-site manufacturing inclusions.

  • The new building will be delivered to Net Zero Carbon and achieve a BREEAM Excellent certification for its sustainability credentials.
  • It has been designed to be a compact building footprint with low perimeter to area ratio. It will have a high performance façade and include electric heating and cooling powered largely by renewables.
  • This means we are investing in high performance building fabric, Photo voltaic panels on the roof and the installation of heat pumps and associated systems connecting to our onsite energy centre.
  • Our phased redevelopment of the Derriford site also includes a decarbonisation strategy in support of delivering a net zero carbon NHS.


UEC Your feedback

We have engaged with partners, patient and staff groups, the Devon system and the voluntary sector at each stage of the process to seek your opinions.

In addition to questions about access and parking and the green credentials of our plans, you have also asked about staff rest areas, and how we will recruit staff for the news Urgent and Emergency Care Centre. Recruitment is starting shortly to prepare for the building opening and increase the workforce model in advance of the building work even starting. But we recognise the difficulties in recruitment across the sector and that there will be a significant amount of training and process change to deliver.

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