A two-year project to build a state-of-the-art extension at Kettering General Hospital has been completed.
The Foundation Wing was officially unveiled to visitors and guests this week, and at the weekend the first patients will begin moving into the wards as part of a staggered opening process.
The £30m extension includes a new paediatric outpatient ward, an adult cardiac ward and an intensive care unit and brings together the children’s ward and paediatric assessment unit.
Kettering General Hospital’s chief executive Lorene Read said the project would see the services moving out of smaller or out-of-date accommodation into purpose-built facilities.
She added: “Moving into the Foundation Wing gives us an amazing opportunity to reorganise the way the hospital works.
“By vacating a lot of space in other parts of the hospital it enables us to think carefully about how we fill those spaces.
“We have a whole transformation programme, which will now be able to go ahead at full speed because the Foundation Wing is opening.”
Among the highlights of the development, the hospital says, is the ability to combine the children’s services, which were previously spread over more than one floor.
As a result, there is now a 32-bed children’s unit which includes a two-bed high-dependency unit for very sick children, an adolescent unit, the 19-bed Skylark Ward for younger children and the paediatric assessment unit, where youngsters can be assessed to see if they require an overnight bed or can be treated at home.
The children’s ward now also includes foldaway parents’ beds, so parents can sleep in the same ward as their children. Those beds were paid for by the Little Extras Appeal.
Dr Harsha Bilolikar, associate medical director for women and children, said: “The new unit is very bright and cheerful and has many features which will help us to improve the care experience.
“Other advantages are the specialised facilities for teenagers and a dedicated outpatients’ area for children, separate from adult areas.”
The wing is opening in stages over the next few weeks.
To see more pictures from the new Foundation Wing, click here.
Ward will be major boost to hospital
Dr Phil Watt, Kettering General Hospital’s clinical lead for intensive care, says the new 16-bed unit represents a ‘major boost’ for dealing with critically ill patients.
A floor of the Foundation Wing has been devoted to the new unit, which also includes two isolation rooms for dealing with patients with infectious diseases, or those whose immune system is poor.
Dr Watt said: “This is a tremendously important development for the hospital.
“The local population is increasing and at the same time the proportion of elderly persons is increasing.
“These factors mean that the demand for critical care will continue to increase.”
Dr Watt said Kettering General Hospital was the first in the country to open an intensive care unit in December 1962.
He added: “Now, 50 years later, we are back there, with one of the most modern, spacious and patient-centred intensive care units in the region.
“If we don’t have intensive care beds that are free, it can mean patients having to be moved to other hospitals and that can mean long journeys for relatives, or long periods of separation at what is often a difficult time.”
Kettering leads on heart services
The new cardiac unit in the Foundation Wing will be connected to the hospital’s existing cardiac centre, bringing together heart services which were previously delivered on different floors in the main building.
The unit is the leading cardiac service in Northamptonshire and will be the county’s fast-response service for conditions like heart attacks.
Dr Naeem Shaukat said the 12-bed coronary care unit, the 14-room cardiology ward and two-bed high-dependency unit were an ‘exciting improvement’.
He added: “It means all the cardiology services have been brought together. This will help improve the patient’s journey through the hospital because they will be looked after by the same doctor and nurse teams throughout their stay.”
Lead cardiac sister Karen Roberts said: “The cardiac team is very excited to be moving into the new facilities which create a much-improved environment where we can care for our patients.”