Antrim Hospital’s new intensive care unit opens after nine moves during pandemic
The intensive care unit at Antrim Hospital has been relocated to a new ward after moving nine times during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust has said.
In a social media post, the Trust announced that after “20 challenging months the new intensive care unit opened this week with increased space, a much-improved environment for our patients and staff”.
“ICU have now moved nine times over the course of the pandemic so it’s great to finally have a home they can settle in to,” the post stated.
The relocation to the former C6 ward at a cost of £2.38 follows refurbishment involving mechanical, ventilation and electrical requirements in a bid to meet “needs of any surge in the future”, Trust board members were told previously.
The board also heard that this is not a “longterm solution for ICU at the hospital”.
Owen Harkin, director of finance and estates, told members at a meeting earlier this year that a purpose-built ICU is needed to meet the demands of the Northern population.
“In the longterm, we need a purpose-built ICU to meet the demands of the Northern population. We need to work to get a long term solution into the 10-year plan,” he said.
However, he stressed the importance of “getting ICU a reasonable home in the medium term”.
The new facility will enable intensive care for up to 10 ICU patients with further ability to increase to 13 beds in an adjacent area should additional ICU capacity be required for future surges.
Meanwhile, patients at the Northern Trust’s hospitals can now have one nominated person who may visit on alternate days. Visitors are encouraged to undertake a lateral flow test twice a week, every three to four days prior to visiting.
All visiting is by appointment only and visitors must contact the ward nurse in charge to arrange the visit. Virtual visiting is still the preference and will be accommodated, the Trust says.
The Trust has also stated that anyone experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 or any other infection should not visit, even if these symptoms are mild and unconfirmed. Similarly, those who have been in contact with someone diagnosed with Covid should not visit.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter
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