New £3million intensive care unit opens at South Tyneside District Hospital
The first patients are now being treated in the new £3million intensive care unit at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Construction work on the unit began in 2022, and the new centre contains six individual room to care for patients.
Health chiefs say the rooms allow staff more space to work and allow for the modern equipment needed to treat those in need of the highest level of care.
Each room also features smart glass that can be turned opaque at the switch of a button to provide privacy and dignity to patients and their families, or left clear to help staff carry out observations.
The unit has its own entrance at the rear of the hospital, allowing families to access the ward directly and supports the transfer of patients via ambulance.
A reception area and quiet rooms have also been set up and the hospital trust said staff now have ‘much better facilities’, with a seminar room, changing spaces and break room.
The unit mirrors the set-up of the Integrated Critical Care Unit (ICCU) at Sunderland Royal Hospital, which health chiefs say makes it much easier for staff who work across both sites.Pete Hersey, Consultant in Critical Care Medicine and Anaesthesia, is Clinical Co-director of Critical Care for the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.
He said the team was delighted to move into the new space.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
The investment comes after a number of controversial changes at the hospital which have left campaigners and South Tyneside MPs concerned over the future of services at the South Tyneside site.
The closure of the Children’s A&E department and the introduction of a midwife-led birthing unit rather than a full maternity unit with consultants were seen by opponents as a watering down of services in favour of those in Sunderland.
However, hospital bosses have announced a millions of pounds-worth of investment in the South Tyneside side in recent years.
As the new intensive care unit is launched, work is continuing on the £10million Integrated Diagnostic Centre in the grounds of the hospital.
This will be kitted out with the latest scanning technology and is due to open in the coming weeks.
Other new investments include a new £2million endoscopy unit, an £800,000 inpatient pharmacy and a £200,000 refit of its Emergency Department’s resuscitation area.