Published: 11:27, 15 June 2021
| Updated: 11:43, 15 June 2021
A new critical care unit will open in the county by autumn, a hospital trust has revealed.
The facility is being built at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford following a successful bid to secure £14 million of national NHS investment.
Work began on the new two-storey, 24-bed unit months ago, with building continuing on the site neighbouring the Kennington and Richard Stevens wards.
The foundations and steel frame are now in place, and will soon be filled with pre-fabricated sections.
These sections are currently being made in Hull, and will be craned into place later this month.
Jane Kirk Smith, critical care matron at William Harvey Hospital, said: “After months of planning it’s so exciting to see our new unit taking shape.
"We’re working really hard behind the scenes to get everything ready for the new unit to open this autumn.
"Thanks to the many teams involved, helping us improve the experience and facilities for our patients, their loved ones and our staff.”
Dr Mark Snazelle, the trust’s lead doctor for critical care, said: “This new unit will be a welcome boost for our team and ensure that we have the best possible environment to care for our most critically ill patients.”
Plans for the new critical care unit were submitted on February 17, and approval was rushed through by March 31.
Located on an existing staff car park, the building project will add 24 critical care beds to the 24 the hospital currently has.
The extra beds are deemed as necessary by trust bosses, as the planning statement reads: "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 design also aims to make social distancing easier compared to other parts of the hospital, which was originally opened in 1977.