I&G completes challenging Barnsley Critical Care Unit build

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 7-Aug-2023

£7.3m unit will increase the number of beds by nine and improve the environment for patients and staff

Construction work has completed on a new £7.3m critical care unit (CCU) at Barnsley Hospital.

I&G has finished building work on the facility, which is located in a former courtyard surrounding by active hospital buildings.

The challenging project involved the demolition of an existing facility and the creation of a new CCU, increasing the number of beds from seven to 16.

For an environment such as critical care, quality had to be at the forefront, with all surfaces needing to meet stringent infection control requirements.

And the build was accompanied by a host of logistical challenges, with three internal levels being constructed simultaneously.

All construction materials, equipment, and miles of cabling had to be brought in through a 2m x 2m doorway – an achievement compared by workers to being like building a hospital ward through the back of an ambulance.

Large equipment and big deliveries were craned in outside of peak hospital times, with the I&G team having to continually rephase construction to work around times of lowest footfall.

I&G completes challenging Barnsley Critical Care Unit buildAs well as difficulties around getting materials onto site, the build was also taking place in a live hospital environment, with access to operating rooms and the emergency birthing route needing to be maintained around the clock, and safety of hospital patients, staff, and visitors being a top priority.

Despite all these issues, the build was completed on budget, with no accidents, and with no loss of service.

As well as doubling the amount of seriously-ill patients who can be cared for in the department, the new facility also has more space, with extra privacy for patients, better lighting, and more space for physiotherapists to conduct bedside consultations.

And it is nearer the surgical high dependency unit, so patient transfers are easier, with an additional area for patients’ families to stay overnight also created.

The facility is also pandemic-ready, with eight extra escalation bays which can be brought into service overnight if needed.

Paul Russell, operations manager at I&G, said: “This was one of the most-challenging builds I’ve worked on in my 30 year career, but it was really satisfying to see the difference the ward will make to patients and staff.

“Having to co-ordinate such a major build through a hospital corridor was a definite first for me, but we’ve worked on several projects in live hospital environments and people now recognise us as sensitive constructors who can adapt to any work environment.

“The CCU is a place none of us would ever want to be, but it’s reassuring to know that the new unit is available to provide the best care to us and our loved ones if we ever need it.”

Barnsley Hospital’s clinical director for surgery, Dr Tim Wenham, added: “This project is great news for both our patients and our staff as this high-quality, purpose-built unit will allow us to provide the best-possible care for our patients.

“In addition to the massively-improved space and environment there is also the huge safety advantage of greater proximity to theatres, radiology, and the emergency department.”

The unit will be operational by the end of this month.

The CCU has more space, extra privacy for patients, better lighting, and space for families to stay overnight

The CCU has more space, extra privacy for patients, better lighting, and space for families to stay overnight

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