Plans for a new intensive care unit in the John Radcliffe Hospital have been submitted. It would triple critical care capacity from 16 to 48 intensive care beds. This new capacity would also serve Buckinghamshire and West Berkshire.

The Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Trust believes the building is an “urgent requirement” as the John Radcliffe’s critical care unit is currently stretched by a large number of patients ill with Covid-19. The trust told the BBC a new unit would “support further pandemic and seasonal pressures” and “given the nature of the pandemic, the increase in critical care capacity must happen at speed”.

The OUH NHS Trust have said they are facing double the number of patients ill with Covid-19 than in the country’s first wave. The John Radcliffe Hospital are dealing with a large number of patients ill with Covid-19 in intensive care, mounting pressure on staff and the hospital’s services. This has forced the trust to cancel all non-essential surgery.

Oxford are facing a high number of coronavirus cases with rates at 531.1 per 100,000, higher than the national rate of 520.4 per 100,000 as of 18th January. Pressure on Oxford’s hospitals has increased, which in turn has created a shortage of intensive care beds. 

A new ICU would include 32 more intensive care beds set out in a “race-track” formation. This layout, used in many world-class critical care units, places nursing in a central area with hospital beds around the ward’s perimeter. It increases patient visibility to staff and facilitates their movement around the unit. The new formation intends to optimise natural light on patients.

The plans also involve demolishing the existing Barnes Care Unit in a 5-story building connected to the central hospital.

Credit Image: Jackie Bowman/CC BY-SA 2.0.

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