New unit will future-proof Barnsley intensive care

Work is well underway on Barnsley Hospital’s new £7.3m Intensive Care Unit (ICU), which will be a landmark for Barnsley in terms of future-proofing the town against current and future demand for intensive care beds.

As I&G start the countdown to completion, clinical leads at the hospital have been invited for fortnightly familiarisation tours of their new facility.

The first of the tours took place on Friday 19 August, and for Consultant in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Tim Wenham, it was his first time looking around the new Unit. He said;

“We were thrilled to go and visit the new ICU for the first time today. And even more thrilled with the progress that has been made by the team.

“After such a long time looking at drawings and helping to design the unit, it really was amazing to see it in the flesh.

“The space and layout will be great for patients, visitors and staff, and we can’t wait to see how things develop over the next few months.”

The team have also recently invited Level 3 Site Carpentry students from Wakefield College for a tour as well as site hazard workshops, programme build exercises and feedback with a Q&A session.  

Sessions facilitated by I&G allowed the next generation of industry workers to engage their college learning with real-life experiences, providing a more comprehensive, multi-disciplinary experience.

Debbie Lee, Employer Engagement Manager at Wakefield College commented;

“We are so lucky to have such amazing employers supporting our students with their experiences in the work place. Illingworth & Gregory have been supporting our students for a couple of years. Thank you very much to all involved in the visit.”

The new multi-million-pound unit will have 13 beds, with more space for each bed in order to meet current and future demand for critical care beds, supporting safe use of required equipment directly at the bedside. This extra space will provide for delivery of physiotherapy and critical care rehabilitation at the bedside in line with national health guidelines.

Steve Lobaz, another Consultant in Anesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine added;

“It’s fantastic seeing the ICU, and I can’t believe it’s nearly going to be finished. This is going to be brilliant for staff, patients and for the community of Barnsley.

“The bed spaces are a lot larger, and there will be a lot more space to work which will be better for everyone.

“The new facility is definitely bringing the ICU into the future.”

Patients will benefit from access to natural light and improved privacy among many other general improvements. Evidence indicates improved patient wellbeing leads to a shorter ICU stay, speedier recovery, and earlier discharge.

Relatives will also have improved facilities and more space, closer to their loved ones.

Intensive Care Lead Nurse, Laura Limb, commented;

“We have designed the new unit as a clinical team with an architect. We can go up to a maximum of 24 beds with our new footprint so if there is a crisis we’ll be in the right place with the right equipment and adequate facilities.

“We are a nursing team of around 100 staff in ICU including nurses, students, a clinical educator and rehab nurse team, and the new unit has been planned with their wellbeing in mind – we have engaged the team in what they really want.

“We have planned a nice big staff room with a comfy sofa and relaxed lighting along with a ‘resource room’ for teaching and education and more offices and a welcoming reception area. Visitors will have access to a quiet room and we’re planning an overnight stay room with en-suite facilities.”

The ICU team has been honoured with awards including the Patient Choice Award in the recent hospital Heart Awards, and also the Freedom of the Borough award – the highest honour Barnsley Council can bestow. The new ICU will be a fitting salute for staff who have been through so much together.

Laura added: “After COVID, many of us started to re-evaluate our own lives. Our Intensive care team are very much a family and we have all been working on a massive adrenaline high for two years. The new purpose-built ICU is something we have wanted for a long time and it is great news for our patients and staff. It will allow us to provide the best possible care to all.”