The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, visited the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford last week to praise staff for their ‘faithful and tenacious service’ and bless the hospital’s new critical care unit, due to open later this month.
During the visit The Archbishop heard from nurses, doctors and hospital chaplains about their experiences of caring for patients throughout the pandemic and spent time with patients recovering from serious illnesses.
The A&E nurses then showed the Archbishop inside the hospital’s newly expanded Emergency Department. Funded by £14 million national NHS investment, the new modular Intensive Care Unit is being created by MMC specialist, MTX. It features a 24 bed ICU ward, plus 2 new dedicated separate plant rooms and ancillary accommodation such as offices, changing rooms and training rooms, spread across 2 storeys. The unit was built on a steel gantry, so that the new ward links directly into the first floor of the existing hospital street; in close proximity to the current live wards.
The Archbishop heard how the significantly expanded unit will benefit patients and staff - designed to provide the hospital’s sickest patients with the very best care and experience, shaped by learning from the Covid pandemic. It will also include new treatment areas for adults and children and improved waiting areas and staff facilities.
Blessing the ‘extraordinary new unit’ the Archbishop prayed for the staff who ‘give nights days and weekends, Christmases and holidays, to work and serve here and whose deep emotional commitment is to the wellbeing of patients and staff.’
Tracey Fletcher, East Kent Hospitals Chief Executive said: “The experience gained through the challenges of the pandemic has enabled our clinical teams to design and assist in delivering an outstanding new critical care unit and a major expansion of the emergency department that will significantly help us improve care for our patients.”
David Peacock Director at MTX, said: “It’s an absolute honour to have our new ICU project at William Harvey hospital blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Using Modern Methods of Construction, the hospital has been able to reap the advantages of its extension much quicker and with less disruption to healthcare services than with onsite traditional building methods.”