New £2.5 million respiratory support unit opens for patients in Teesside

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has proudly opened the doors to a fully redeveloped state-of-the-art ward, with a new respiratory support unit now ready to welcome patients.

Development on the new unit began in July this year after the respiratory team’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that the former respiratory unit needed significant modernisation.

Patients being treated for serious respiratory conditions will soon be benefiting from an even better level of monitoring and care than before which the newly laid-out unit on ward 24 will provide.

The ward includes a respiratory support unit, which has a seven-bed enhanced care unit with increased monitoring facilities, as well several other bed bays and single rooms for patients with less medically intensive requirements.

Respiratory consultant and departmental lead Dr Vandana Jeebun commented: “One of the key priorities from the outset of the pandemic was to improve the visibility of our most seriously ill patients. The layout of the monitoring station and the smart glass technology used in the side rooms really enhance this.

“We also have state-of-the-art tele-monitoring for our patients, so that any early deterioration can be more quickly recognised and addressed by the team.”

The new £2.5m respiratory support unit provides improved:
• infection control and isolation facilities
• visibility of patients with new ‘smart glass technology’ around side rooms centred around a nursing monitoring station
• central tele-monitoring and alert technology
• staffing levels
• oxygen supply and ventilation system

Staffing levels have also been increased, with ward matron Maria Lawson commenting: “The respiratory support unit will be staffed by two respiratory registered nurses and one healthcare assistant, with the ongoing input from a respiratory physiotherapist, a ward pharmacist, non-invasive ventilation specialist nurses and the critical care outreach team.”

Chief Executive Julie Gillon commented: “The work that the respiratory team has put into creating the unit has been extraordinary. Despite having been through nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the respiratory team worked hand-in-hand with our estates team and architects to meticulously design and build this outstanding unit.”

Next to the new respiratory support unit is ward 25 – another 28-bed respiratory ward, which also already has a pre-existing seven bedded enhanced care unit, with continuous monitoring and similar levels of staffing. Work has already been undertaken to increase the oxygen supply to the ward with similar monitoring technology being installed.

Dr Jeebun explained: “Both wards provide the same level of monitoring and care with the main difference between the two Respiratory Support Units being the single room layout for enhanced infection control measures on Ward 24. We’ll be further improving the ventilation system soon with estates work also planned.”

The Trust’s project management and improvement office and wholly-owned subsidiary NTH Solutions Ltd. have managed the extensive development alongside contractor Geoffrey Robinson Ltd.

A formal opening event will be held in the new year.

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