Intensive care staff ready to move into new £90m hospital


Staff are preparing for the move into Whitehaven’s new £90 million West Cumberland Hospital in less than eight weeks’ time.

Work on new hospital, which is situated directly behind the existing, suffered a setback last January after a fire caused extensive damage to the new energy centre leaving the new building without any source of electrical power or heating.

Since then, the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, has made “good progress in developing plans and options to re-establish permanent heat and power supplies’’ with a new opening date of October.

Those working in the hospitals Intensive Care Unit (ITU) are already gearing up for a new way of working. Although the new unit – which treats the most acutely unwell patients in the hospital – will be the same as the existing one, it will also be very different to the current set up.

There will still be six beds and the same faces looking after the patients, but staff nurse Janet Walker said many changes have also been made.

“Obviously, it all looks and feels very clean and new,” she explained. “It is very clinical, as you would expect, but also calming, with lovely lilac walls.

“The main difference is that all the patients will be treated in single cubicle rooms, rather than in one big open unit. It will be much more private for the patients and a nicer environment for their families too.”

At the centre of the unit is a nurses’ station which allows staff to see into all of the rooms.

Critical care matron Diane Murchison said: “The ICU medical and nursing team have been involved in the designing of the new unit from the outset. We have been consulted on layout of the unit, the specific equipment required for an ICU and the necessary furniture we would need.

“We are all very proud of our new facilities and are looking forward to working in this new environment.”

The new unit has extra storage space for drugs and equipment as well as a relatives’ room where they can stay with an en-suite bathroom.

The move will also see the introduction of Metavision – an electronic patient information system connected to each patient bed space, which will accurately record every aspect of patient data.

The location of every ward and department in the new hospital has been thoroughly thought out – ICU is next to the Coronary Care Unit and very close to A&E, all forming part of the Critical Care floor.

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