The current construction project at Whittington Hospital is a scheme to reorganise and change acute core services.

The Whittington Hospital NHS Trust is an acute general teaching hospital situated in the area between Archway and Waterlow Park in the London Borough of Islington. The Trust was formed in November 1992 and currently employs approximately 1,800 staff with an income for 2002-2003 of c. £100 million.

The current construction project is a scheme to reorganise and change the acute core services at the Whittington. The Turnberg Review, set up in June 1997 to consider the future provision of London’s health services, highlighted the “urgent need [for] capital investment” at the Whittington to enable it to continue its role in “serving [its] local population yet remaining a significant centre for medical education”. An outline business case for the scheme was approved by the health authority and commissioners in December 1999, with full business case approval following in March 2002.


Designed as two phases, the scheme consists of a significant new build element along with refurbishment of existing Trust facilities. Phase 1 (new build) is due for completion in the summer of 2004, with Phase 2 competing in the spring of 2005. The Trust’s PFI partner for the project is Jarvis plc, who signed a contract with the Whittington on 8 October 2002. Capital cost for the scheme is £30 million.

The new facilities will be smaller, different in content and much more flexible than those which they replace, particularly with the separation of emergency and elective patients. Improved functional relationships will allow for more flexible and economic staffing cover for the entire “hot” section of the hospital.

Pedestrian access to the hospital will be significantly improved by a new main entrance on Magdala Avenue and circulation within the site will be made easier by linking the new building with refurbished emergency and outpatients departments, and with the Great Northern building.


The new facility will comprise:

  • Ambulatory unit (four-day surgery theatres, one interventional imaging room, four endoscopy/minor treatment rooms)
  • Diagnostics centre (main imaging centre and phlebotomy)
  • Critical care unit (15 beds)
  • Cardiology ward (18 beds)
  • Assessment unit (15 beds)
  • Mercers ward (16 beds), oncology day unit (ten places) and thalassaemia unit (eight places)
  • Medical ward (21 beds)
  • Discharge lounge
  • New main pedestrian entrance


This is the first acute health services contract for Jarvis plc, which has already developed Private Finance Initiative (PFI) skills in the non-acute health, education and other sectors.

The new facilities, which will be built on the existing prominent North London site, will be located in a new building connecting directly to the existing ward, theatre, outpatient and emergency department facilities.

Work on the project will start immediately with the construction phase scheduled for completion by the end of 2004. The full development cost is expected to be around £30 million. Under the scheme Jarvis will also provide building and engineering maintenance services for a 30-year period, for both the new building and the existing ward and theatre block.