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Work has been completed on the new £2.5 million purpose built intensive care unit at York Hospital which will provide six new isolation beds for critical care. The modular building, linked directly to the Emergency Department, opens mid-March.

The unit provides vital extra beds for patients who need critical care as well as much-needed extra capacity. Throughout the pandemic demand on critical care meant that there were not enough isolation facilities on the critical care unit so areas in theatres had to be used which affected capacity to carry out operations.

Joe Carter, Consultant Anaesthetist in Critical Care at York Hospital, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented demand on hospitals and in particular critical care units.

“Prior to the pandemic there was no spare critical care facility to allow for the increase in patient numbers requiring access to critical care interventions.

“In York, in line with much of the country, the only suitable care areas to expand into were operating theatres and post-anaesthesia care units.  This has had a significant impact on patients as, in addition to the challenge of providing more critical care beds, the loss of theatre space adversely affected surgical patients.  Theatre throughput was significantly reduced and the reduction in available critical care beds led to cancellation or postponement of many high-risk surgical procedures.

 “The purpose-built intensive care ‘pod’ delivers essential additional isolation facilities with six lobbied rooms. This should future-proof the intensive care environment for many years to come allowing for the predicted increase of patients requiring critical care year on year. The increase in isolation facilities will triple the number of infectious disease patients who could be managed appropriately within the critical care.”

The unit was built by York-based modular construction experts Portakabin, and has been constructed from 18 steel framed building modules which were built off site at the Portakabin production facility in Huntington. The modules were delivered and craned into position over three days before the final internal fit out was completed.

Nick Griffin, Divisional Managing Director from Portakabin, said: “Portakabin has a long history of providing vital support to the NHS and the unique requirements of the healthcare sector for safety, speed, minimisation of disruption and the demands of a varied and wide-ranging estate are well understood by our experts. We understand how new buildings can be integrated and adapted around existing legacy buildings, such as the building we have constructed for York Hospital.”

Simon Morritt, Chief Executive, York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This new facility is fantastic news for York Hospital, our critical care team and patients both now and in the future.  As we continue to have a considerable number of patients with Covid-19  in our hospitals it will ensure that we can care for Covid and non-Covid patients who need hospital treatment safely.”

The project is part of the multi-million pound works to expand and redesign the emergency department’s urgent and emergency care facilities.  It  will create a two-storey extension to provide a vital new eight bedded resuscitation area, along with improvements to both the waiting room and the consultation and treatment areas,  increasing capacity and providing better care for patients.

08 March 2022

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