A brand-new critical care unit, that will benefit some of east Kent’s sickest patients, has opened at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
Funded by £14 million national NHS investment, the new 24-bed unit contains four separate six-bed treatment areas, each with two isolation rooms, and dedicated areas for family and visitors, to provide the very best care and experience for patients and their loved ones.
The hospital’s critical care specialists have been heavily involved in the design and delivery of the two-storey, purpose-built unit, which has been shaped by learning from the Covid pandemic.
Tracey Fletcher, Chief Executive said: “The experience gained through the challenges of the Covid pandemic has enabled our clinical teams to design and help deliver an outstanding new critical care unit that will help us significantly improve care for our patients.”
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The unit also invests in staff training and wellbeing, with a state-of-the-art simulation training suite, and dedicated rest areas, changing rooms and work spaces, on the unit’s second floor.
Dr Mark Snazelle, the Trust’s lead doctor for critical care said: “This new unit is a fantastic boost for our team and is the best possible environment for us to care for our most critically-ill patients. After months of designing, planning, building, testing and training, we are ready for our first patients.”
Yvonne Davis, William Harvey Hospital’s longest-serving nurse, opened the new unit on Tuesday (26 April), 43 years after her first shift at the hospital on its opening night in 1979.
“It’s been exciting to see the plans for the new unit develop and help get the unit ready to open. I am so proud of the team and I can’t wait for my first shift on this fantastic new unit!”
Suzanne Folkard, 49, from Whitstable, spent three months in the care of the William Harvey’s critical care team in 2018 following a life-threatening illness.
Speaking at the unit’s opening Suzanne said: “Critical care staff go the extra mile to care for their patients, which is something my family and I experienced when they were saving my life.
“Covid has highlighted their amazing hard work and dedication and I am so glad that with this new, larger unit, the team will be able to help more critically unwell patients, the way they did for me.”
Jane Kirk Smith, Critical Care Matron, thanked the many different teams involved in delivering the new unit, including construction partners MTX, 2gether Support Solutions, support teams throughout the Trust, and particularly the nurses, doctors and therapists caring for patients.