The healthcare infrastructure specialist

Planning the new Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, UK

Our modelling supports the Outline Business Case to bring the vision of a future fit hospital to life, facilitating the delivery of new care models in a flexible and adaptable hospital estate to meet future health needs and population growth.


Key services:

  • Strategic advisory

Key data:

  • Location: Harlow, Essex
  • Client name: The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust
  • Status: ongoing
  • Collaborators: Grant Thornton; Channel 3; Mott MacDonald

Fast facts:

  • The hospital serves approximately 350,000 people
  • 56% of PAH is currently rated as being in unacceptable condition
  • Funding secured from first wave of the national Health Infrastructure Programme

Who is the client?

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) provides acute services to the population of Harlow and the surrounding area of West Essex and East Hertfordshire, serving approximately 350,000 people.

The challenge:

Much of the existing PAH estate is ageing and provides substandard efficiency and capacity (56% of PAH being of unacceptable condition). This is compromising the ability of PAH to deliver effective and high-quality healthcare and meet demands from future predicted population growth.

PAH is the Trust’s main site and hospital – currently operating over 550 beds, including core general and acute beds, as well as maternity, High Dependency Unit and neonatal intensive care unit beds/cots.

In 2019, The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) board voted unanimously to seek permission and funding to build a new hospital on a green-field site close to the current hospital.

What did we do?

With funding agreed in the first wave of the national Health Infrastructure Programme, Archus has supported the PAHT team who were working at pace to complete the necessary plans for the development of the new hospital. We completed demand and capacity modelling, developed Schedules of Accommodation, and completed bed cost modelling to inform the Outline Business Case.

We reviewed the proposed changes in the model of care at an organisational and system level for each point of delivery, system financial plans, and the impact of pandemic planning to inform the demand and capacity modelling for the future sizing of the hospital; and developed Schedule of Accommodation to facilitate the delivery of new care models and to deliver a flexible and adaptable hospital estate.

What was the outcome?

Through wide collaboration, the project team is creating the blueprint of a hospital fit for the future.

Our healthcare planners focused on system-wide plans for demand moderation, digitisation of care, adaptability, sustainability, future proofing and standardisation. Through detailed demand and capacity forecasting over a 20-year horizon considering age-adjusted population projections, we’ve identified opportunities for repatriation of activity, and improvements in the systemwide integrated models of care and service efficiency.

We’ve also used potential changes in demand for diagnostics, critical care services, and new ways of delivering Urgent and Emergency care to inform the demand and capacity modelling. We’ve built upon the previous modelling work to move from high level clinical pathway design through to the detailed SoAs. This has meant focussing upon key decisions, incorporating evidence-based design principles for improving service efficiency and utilisation and building in pandemic resilience.

We are currently working with the Trust’s architects to support the design development by providing adjacency maps and reviewing the ongoing design process for the new greenfield site solution.


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