Contractors have now completed all the external groundworks on Walsall Healthcare’s multi-million pound Integrated Critical Care Unit, scheduled for completion next winter.
The new development is bringing together Walsall Manor Hospital’s Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) and the High Dependency Unit (HDU) creating an 18-bedded unit, which is an increase of five beds.
John Cottrell, Skanska Project Manager, explained that the main priority will be making the building envelope watertight.
“All of the foundations – the external groundworks such as concrete pile caps, ground beams and drainage - has now been completed,” he said. “The internal steelwork which includes rails for patient hoists, support for bed bay pendants and a new plant room floor is also finished.
“We’ve started the timber decking needed for the mezzanine level in the plant room as well as internal drainage work that threads its way through the different levels of the former West Wing and the structural steel frame for the new extension is also nearing completion.
“The priority is now making the building envelope weather resistant which involves the installation of the brickwork, external cladding, windows and the roof. The ICCU team has worked some weekends on site to ensure this has happened.
“The ICCU will have a complex suspended ceiling which involves installing secondary steelwork to the existing concrete slab to house the medical pendants for patients; the positioning has to be absolutely spot on.”
Russell Caldicott, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Lead Director for the ICCU scheme, said: “Now that the steel framework is up we can all get a sense of this new unit taking shape, although we’re well aware that so much work has been going on since the demolition of the inside of the former West Wing.
“Throughout the construction Skanska has kept our medics up to speed and shown them and our student nurses around the site, pointing out the progress made so far. Our new ICCU will transform the environment in which our sickest patients receive care and our HDU and ITU staff can’t wait to move into this state-of-the-art centre.”
The new ICCU will allow the Trust to treat many patients in individual rooms, preventing cross infection and ensuring their dignity and privacy. The standardisation of equipment at every bed space will mean any bed can be used for either an HDU or ITU patient, preventing them having to be moved. Each bed will have a ceiling-mounted pendant that supplies a comprehensive range of essential services including essential gases, power for equipment and IT links.
The new ICCU will also help the Trust attract specialist staff who want the opportunity to work in the new unit.