Published: 12:52, 24 February 2021
| Updated: 14:22, 24 February 2021
Hospital bosses have submitted plans for a new, state-of-the-art intensive care unit in response to the pandemic.
If approved, the proposal will see a new three-storey facility built at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, adding 24 beds.
Submitted last week, the scheme comes in the wake of Covid, which has caused intense pressure on healthcare facilities nationwide.
In a design and access statement attached to the plan, agent Day Architectural writes: "This project is a direct response to the current activity and pandemic pressures.
"The combination of these is affecting the health trust’s ability to provide safe and appropriate accommodation for patients and staff within the hospital."
"The combined pressures of intensive care unit shortages and the need for social distancing have tested the physical footprint of the current hospital."
Located on an existing staff car park, the extension would be built next to the Richard Stevens Stroke Unit.
The statement continues: "The intensive care unit will support the safe care of those patients requiring intensive care and extended observation.
"The existing intensive care unit spaces within the hospital are not compliant with current standards as such this new facility will provide the appropriate environment to provide the level of care required."
The building would be accessed through the main hospital building, with the external door being used only by staff and as a fire exit.
A 100-year return report suggests the structure will be built to last permanently.
Currently there are 3,356 staff based at the William Harvey, of which 2,459 are clinical and 897 are support staff.
At the moment, the hospital has a 16-bed intensive care unit and a new eight-bed facility opened in October to help deal with the winter spike in Covid cases.
Together with the proposed building, the Kennington Road site would have 48 beds for seriously-ill patients.