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Theatres and Critical Care

New Facilities Treat First Patients

ITIC Critical Care (April 2014)
The new Critical Care Unit

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHFT) is delighted to announce that the first patients have now received treatment in the brand new Operating Theatres and Critical Care Unit at Leighton Hospital in Crewe.

Patients in intensive care or on the high dependency unit were safely transferred into the new facilities on Monday, March 31, whilst the first operations took place in the new Theatres on Monday, April 28, 2014.

ITIC Critical Care (April 2014)
One of the Critical Care Unit bed bays

The £22.8million project, supported by Government funding of £21.69million, has seen the creation of 14 Critical Care bays and eight Operating Theatres, and replaces facilities which were in place when the hospital first opened in 1971.  The new building is adjacent to, and integrated with, the hospital’s existing Treatment Centre, which itself will shortly undergo significant refurbishment to further support an increase in the quality and safety of patient care available.

The new Critical Care Unit is a vastly improved environment compared with the 43-year-old facilities that it replaces.  Electric blinds are built into the large windows which allow large amounts of natural light to enter the Unit, whilst the individual bed bays are separated by walls of ‘blink glass’ which can be turned from clear to opaque at the touch of a button to instantly provide patient privacy. 

ITIC Critical Care (April 2014)
Sky ceiling panels and ambient lighting in one of the Critical Care bed bays

There are a number of specially-chosen finishing touches to help reduce potential patient delirium which can be associated with intensive care settings, such as sky ceiling photo panels above patient beds which display realistic images of blue skies, white clouds and blossom trees.

In addition to the 12 regular Critical Care bed bays, each of which provides a lot more space than in the units that they replace, there are two isolation bays which help to further improve infection prevention and control.  The new Unit also provides a dedicated room for relatives to discuss patients’ conditions with staff, as well as an area where they can relax and recuperate.

Dr Susan Gilby, Associate Medical Director and Clinical Lead for the project, said: “While still providing a good standard of care, the old Critical Care facilities were beginning to show their age and were starting to limit the advances and improvements that we were able to make for the benefit of those patients who needed intensive treatment.

“With this move into the brand new Unit, you can already see the improvements coming through. We have gone from a dark, cramped area to a light, bright and airy environment with plenty of space that benefits both patients and staff alike.

“We’ve been able to include a number of features which not only look impressive but are proven to help lower patient anxiety and ultimately aid their recovery.”

Barn Theatre
The Barn Theatre

Located along the corridor from the Critical Care Unit are the eight new, state-of-the-art Operating Theatres, each featuring touch screens which allow the surgeons and their staff to control every aspect of the operating environment from one interactive monitor. The brightness, location and even the colour of the lighting can be altered to suit the requirements for each individual procedure, while cameras can be controlled remotely to record and photograph specific aspects of the operation.

Two of the new Theatres are set up in a barn formation – this is where two patients undergo operations in the same room, usually for Orthopaedic procedures such as hip or knee replacements. Each operating area is contained within a clean air enclosure to ensure that infections are not spread between patients, and the setup allows for improved team working and knowledge sharing as well as improving supervision for new surgeons, anaesthetists and practitioners.

In addition to the Barn Theatres, the new build has seen the creation of two Integrated Theatres which are designed primarily to aid Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. MCHFT is a nationally-accredited training centre for Laparoscopic procedures, and these new facilities will allow the Trust to build on the success that it has achieved in this area. Laparoscopic surgery has a number of benefits to patients including reduced pain and quicker recovery time, due to the very small incisions used during procedures.

ITIC Theatres (April 2014)
Green lighting in one of the Operating Theatres

The working environment for staff is also improved in the new facilities, with each of the Theatres, as well as all of the Critical Care Unit bed bays, having ceiling-mounted equipment and medical gas pendants installed. These ensure that all the equipment can be quickly and easily adjusted and moved around the area, whilst keeping the floors free from trailing cables.

Speaking about the new Theatres, Dr Gilby added: “With all of the advances that we’ve been able to include in our new Theatres, we will be able to treat more patients and provide them with a better experience before, during and after surgery.

“Surgeons will be able to adapt their operating environments to perfection with just a few touches of our new control screens, while the new Barn Theatres are a perfect example of how we are using the new facilities to improve the ways in which we work.”

Exterior of new build
The exterior of the new building

In addition to the new Critical Care Unit and Operating Theatres, the new building also contains a number of other interesting features such as a dedicated Paediatric recovery area for children who have just undergone surgery, motion-sensor doors which open automatically, and a power plant which was built off-site and installed in modules – one of the biggest such projects undertaken in the UK.

Tracy Bullock, Chief Executive, said: “I am immensely proud of the new facilities that we’ve been able to provide here. Not only do our patients now have fantastic, state-of-the-art treatment options on their doorstep, but they also have the security of knowing that they will be fit-for-purpose and available for many years to come.

“The project has been years in the planning and it is brilliant that we are finally able to offer these further improvements in care to our local community. The team which has overseen the project from day one has worked tirelessly to bring the plans to life, and I’m not alone in my belief that these new facilities are amongst the best in country.”