We’ll be investing £11.5m in enhancing and expanding our critical care departments this year.
At King George Hospital, we’ll be spending £4m on expanding our existing Critical Care Unit (CCU), doubling it in size to 15 beds. While at Queen’s Hospital, £7.5m will be spent on a new, modern, CCU. The key in creating this unit will be ensuring that it’s flexible, allowing us to easily increase the number of beds quickly when faced with additional demand due to Covid waves or any future pandemics.
Both units are due to be complete by the end of the year, helping us to deal with any increases in demand over the winter months.
We’ll be spending over £12m on upgrades to King George Hospital. Recent improvements to our Emergency Department (ED) have included a six-bed resuscitation development, Rapid Access and First Treatment (RAFTing) area and reconfiguring our ambulance entrance to improve access. A further £3m will be spent on completing our ED, including improvements to our patient observation area and children’s ED.
We’ll also be investing £3m in a mechanical and electrical infrastructure upgrade, £1m on improving IT, and £1m on enabling works to house our new 3T MRI scanner, which will be key in allowing us to scan and diagnose more patients, getting them the treatment they need and reducing our waiting lists overall.
We’re continuing to invest in improving our digital technologies, including cyber security and agile working, £2.5m will be designated for this.
These projects are all due to be completed by the end of the year and will be funded from a capital spending pot of £39m.
Despite the challenges we’ve faced during the pandemic, we’ve continued to invest in making our hospitals the best places to receive care for our patients. This has included opening a Children and Young People’s Assessment Unit at Queen’s Hospital earlier this month, and introducing two further surgical robots; our second Da Vinci Xi and an orthopaedic robot; these are both based at King George Hospital which is fast becoming our planned surgery hub.
This demonstrates a huge improvement in capital investment over the last two years, having funded projects totalling £46m in 2020/21. In 2018/19, we received just £7m.
Tony Chambers, our Chief Executive, said: “The pandemic has been challenging for the entire NHS, however, it does not mean we’ve stopped investing in improving our hospitals.
“Increasing the number of critical care beds across our hospitals will put us in better stead for dealing with any future increase in demand. We’ve used what we’ve learned from the pandemic to inform how we plan this, ensuring our new Critical Care Unit at Queen’s Hospital will be more flexible, allowing us to open more beds if needed quickly and easily.
“The areas where we are looking to invest our resources will also aid our recovery as life returns to something a bit more recognisable as normality, ensuring we get patients the care they need and reduce our waiting lists.”