South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s new Intensive Care Unit has officially opened its doors and is treating its first patients.
Construction on the £3m facility initially began last year and, with the project’s completion, staff are now benefiting from six dedicated care rooms, equipped with smart glass that can turn opaque for patient privacy or clear for observations; a new reception area, and quiet, break, and seminar rooms.
The unit has its own entrance at the rear of South Tyneside District Hospital, which not only allows families direct access to the ward, but also supports patient transfers via ambulance.
The new site has been designed to mirror the Integrated Critical Care Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital – also presided over by the trust – to ensure staff can work across both sites as easily as possible.
Consultant in Critical Care Medicine and Anaesthesia, and South Tyneside and Sunderland’s Clinical Co-Director of Critical Care, Pete Hersey, said: "This new Intensive Care Unit in South Tyneside District Hospital now provides some of the best facilities in the world to care for some of our sickest patients.
"We have spacious single rooms that offer privacy and a much better experience for families spending time with their loved ones. The equipment within the unit is also all brand new and of a really high specification
"We have rest facilities for staff and areas for education and training and that will make a real difference to our team in the years ahead. We are proud to say that with this new facility, we have created the best environment to allow the best care for the population of South Tyneside and Sunderland."
With the new unit’s launch, the trust’s focus will now shift onto the £10m Integrated Diagnostic Centre at the same hospital, which the trust say will also be kitted out with some of the latest, state-of-the-art technology, with the opening scheduled in the coming weeks.
These investments add to several others at the South Tyneside site, including a £2m endoscopy unit, a £800,000 inpatient pharmacy, and a £200,000 redesign of the Emergency Department’s resuscitation area.