Netherlands hospital renovation boosts healthcare and cuts carbon emissions 

The Haaglanden Medical Centre is one of the top clinical hospitals in the Netherlands. It not only provides basic hospital care, but also treats trauma, neurology, the most complicated cancers, infectious diseases, and paediatric illnesses. Many of its buildings require renovation to ensure continued optimal care and to improve its environmental footprint.

>@Martijn Wiesenekker
© Martijn Wiesenekker

"People are dependent upon our hospital in the Hague but also across the cities surrounding the Hague," says Martijn Wiesenekker, chief financial officer of the hospital, which is in The Hague, the third largest city in the Netherlands.

Because the hospital’s three main buildings, built in the 1970s and 1980s, are so important to the country’s medical services, the management is planning a decade-long renovation that will also save a lot of energy. The hospital, known as HMC, signed a €110 million loan in June 2023 with the European Investment Bank to refurbish two of its main sites with the latest medical equipment and supplies, as well as new heating and cooling systems. The goal is to cut carbon emissions by 64%.

Besides the energy savings, the work will keep residents healthier, of course. The centre has more than 170 000 patients a year who come from across the Netherlands to be treated by its trauma, neurology, or cancer specialistsThe investments into the renovation and upgrade will allow HMC to maintain its status as top clinical hospital, with optimal care for patients coming from The Hague and beyond, and with an attractive working environment for its staff.

“Our clinic, ORs and our ICU are outdated,” says Patrick de Bruijn, financial manager at HMC. “With this renovation we look forward to continuing to provide the best care for our patients.”


Enhancing a patient’s journey

As healthcare budgets tighten and the labour market is very competitive, shortages of medical staff in the Netherlands and across Europe are very common. For HMC, these shortages are especially felt in the nursing wards and operating rooms.

Nurses are important from the time a patient arrives for the most basic outpatient care to the time a trauma patient leaves after a long stay and many complicated surgeries. The loan from the European Investment Bank also helps to create a modern working environment that will alleviate the challenge of staff shortages.

Enhancing a patient’s journey within the hospital and modernising the facilities improves the overall experience and perception for visitors and employees. The hospital also conducts a large amount of scientific research as a top clinical hospital. So the modern facilities will attract and retain better researchers and medical professionals.

During Phase 1 of renovations, starting in 2023, two buildings – the HMC Westeinde and HMC Antoniushove – will be refurbished and expanded, and all inpatient services will be consolidated on these two locations. The current Bronovo site will be featuring a new advanced care concept. During Phase 2, from 2030 to 2035, the HMC will renew outpatient facilities, cardiac and pulmonary function departments, and medical support departments such as laboratories and radiology.

HMC has over 4 000 staff. Upgrading the infrastructure and its surroundings also enables healthcare professionals to improve their treatments. Patients benefit from more advanced medical technologies, and they recover faster in a comfortable and pleasant environment.

“Modernising the hospital helps the city of The Hague and its inhabitants, and it can improve healthcare over time,” says de Bruijn.

Minimising carbon footprint

HMC  is also launching this modernisation because it cares about the environment and climate change.

In July 2023, the Dutch government made it mandatory for healthcare organisations to have a climate roadmap showing their progress towards lower carbon emissions. Hospitals have a substantial carbon footprint, and HMC understands that waste management and healthcare go hand in hand.

The hospital aims to align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 5, 7, 10, 12, 13 and 17, which relate to good health and well-being, responsible consumption and production and climate action. HMC is working with suppliers to reduce hospital waste. Simply switching to a heat pump system in the winter and hybrid cooling equipment in the summer will make a big difference in energy consumption at the hospital.

 “By investing in heat pumps, and hybrid cooling to reduce energy consumption and lower costs,” says Wiesenekker, CFO, “we also take the opportunity to look at our environmental impact.”