A new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St Helier Hospital has been completed, designed by Medical Architecture for Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.
The rigorous application of design standards, bed spacing and infection prevention measures have renabled the facility to be immediately occupied, helping the trust to significantly increase its ICU capacity for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The previous ICU service at St Helier occupied a single ward of the original 1930s hospital building.
But a CQC inspection identified that improvement was imperative to the future of the hospital, reporting that pressures on the service capacity had led to overcrowding, and that the quality and functionality of clinical space were significantly compromised as a result.
The challenge for Medical Architecture was to provide a compliant, well-functioning facility within the constraints of an existing infrastructure which pre-dates the NHS.
The layout is the result of detailed briefing sessions with the clinical team.
And the new unit reflects a patient-focused model of care, with support space provided around individual bed spaces, which allow the facility to operate seamlessly and efficiently.
The new layout illustrates how well-structured collaboration between an architect and an engaged clinical team can improve clinical workflows.
And, where the old ICU exposed the limitations of an outdated building, increasing service demand and pressures on staff; the new facility is now organised around, and reflective of, the current best working practices and the care requirements of patients.
This investment in improved infrastructure will also benefit the wider hospital; enabling the future reconfiguration and modernisation of adjacent clinical facilities, as well as reducing running costs.