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Critical Care Unit confirms St Thomas’ Hospital’s commitment to clinical excellence

The new £3m Critical Care Unit at St Thomas’ Hospital involves ME Construction in completely stripping out the sixth floor of the hospital’s East Wing, then forming and equipping the various bays, along with isolation and other specialist rooms.

“We’re also supplying all the facilities you’d expect to find in such a Unit -  including a reception area, waiting area, staff area, toilets and so on,” said ME Construction’s Project Manager, Barry Page. “In all, the Unit comprises some 30 rooms.

“As you’d expect, ME Construction is building the internal walls and the ceilings. We’re supplying the floor covering and fixed furniture, as well as providing all the mechanical and electrical work.”

Areas of the work that require special attention are the ceiling-hung medical pendants that supply various services to each bed, and a negative pressure system. Barry explained, “The negative pressure system is needed so that, when a door is opened, no air – which could be contaminated – escapes.

“To achieve this, we’re installing a separate air handling unit which only serve the two isolation rooms and one air handling unit which serves the rest of the floor.”

The project, begun in August 2017 and ending in February 2018, is the latest amendment to St Thomas’ East Wing. This Wing was built in the 1950s, following the severe damage inflicted on the northern part of the hospital site during World War II.

Of course, St Thomas’ Hospital – in its various guises – has provided healthcare since the 12th century. Now sited in Lambeth, across the River Thames from the Palace of Westminster, the hospital was originally located in Southwark. It moved to its current site in 1871.

Described as ‘ancient’ in 1215, the hospital was named after St Thomas Becket. This suggests it may have been founded after 1173 when Becket, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, was canonised. However, another view is that the hospital was merely renamed in 1173 and its origins are as an infirmary at the Priory that was founded at Southwark in 1106.

When the monastery was dissolved, in 1539 during the Henrican Reformation, the hospital closed – only to be reopened in 1551 and rededicated to Thomas, the Apostle.

The hospital left Southwark in 1862, when its site was compulsorily purchased to make way for the construction of the Charing Cross Railway viaduct from London Bridge Station. It was temporarily housed at Royal Surrey Gardens in Newington until new hospital buildings were built on the present site, near Lambeth Palace on land largely reclaimed from the river during construction of the Albert Embankment in the late 1860s. These were completed in 1871.

The new Critical Care Unit is part of St Thomas’ Hospital’s continuing development – in line with the hospital’s on-going commitment to clinical excellence and world leading research. According to the hospital, “Dedication to the communities we serve is at the heart of everything we do, providing you with high quality and personal care.

“We are guided by our values: putting patients first, taking pride in what we do, respecting others, striving to be the best and acting with integrity.”


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