Up to 176 extra critical care beds for seriously-ill Covid-19 patients are being installed in a new state-of-the-art unit at The Royal London Hospital.
Barts Health NHS Trust transformed the dormant floors on level 14 and 15 of its internationally-renowned teaching hospital to double the group’s critical care capacity.
The space was left empty when the hospital opened in 2012 to allow for future service expansion. The £24m investment is part of the NHS long-term response to coronavirus across London.
Led by the Trust’s estates team, construction crews from the Wates Group and its suppliers fitted out the pre-existing shell and core in less than five weeks. The new unit has six wards with good visibility of patients to comply with latest guidance for treating Covid-19.
The extra beds enable The Royal London to bring back space elsewhere in the hospital that was temporarily repurposed for Covid-19, and thereby resume routine services like elective surgery.
The new permanent unit will ensure the hospital responds to future Covid-19 peaks, and relieve pressure on other hospitals in north east London with fewer critical care beds, including Whipps Cross and Newham within the Barts Health group.
Jackie Sullivan, Chief Executive of The Royal London, said: “This facility allows our teams to separate Covid and non-Covid patients, and will help us encourage other patients who require treatment but have not been able to attend hospital in recent weeks to come back for essential surgery or care. I want to thank all the teams who have worked so quickly to make this unit a reality.”
Alwen Williams, Group Chief Executive, said: “Our patients live in the one of the most highly deprived, densely-urbanised and hyper-diverse parts of the country, with the highest rates of Covid-19. They deserve the best critical care services the NHS can provide. These new wards will be used for many years to come, both during this pandemic and to meet other health needs of our wider local population.”
This story was featured in the Evening Standard.