Doctors and nurses at Southampton's teaching hospitals will mark the completion of a new £1.5 million unit for patients with severe lung and breathing problems at an official opening ceremony tomorrow (Wednesday).
The respiratory high dependency unit (HDU) development, situated on the west wing of Southampton General Hospital, has been hailed as a significant development in respiratory care for the city and it is the first time in ten years that the unit has had a purpose-built home.
In addition to an expansion in capacity from six to nine beds, which includes four additional side rooms with en suite bathrooms, the facility will give staff access to the latest monitoring equipment and technology.
It will also see the recruitment of another 12 nurses, taking the total for the department up from 21 to 33.
The unit, which is seen as a level below intensive care, treats patients with complications from a range of chest and breathing conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pneumonia and complications of motor neurone disease.
“The opening of this unit really is a momentous occasion for everyone involved with respiratory high dependency care in Southampton – it is the biggest development in ten years,” said Dr David Land, a consultant respiratory physician.
“Although the pressures on respiratory care, as with many other specialities, have increased greatly over recent years, our facilities had not kept pace with that change.
“Now, though, we are able to celebrate not just an expansion in capacity and staffing, but a fantastic new and modern facility that enables us to meet demand while also providing the best possible environment for our patients.”
Dr Land said the expansion will also help to further reduce pressure on the emergency department and intensive care, which together account for around a half of all admissions to the high dependency unit.
He added: “At a time of increasing emergency admissions across hospitals nationwide, this development will further enhance our ability to improve patient flow and reduce pressure on the urgent and critical care services whilst improving the environment for patients”
Posted on Tuesday 26 August 2014