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03 February 2015

State-of-the-art intensive care unit opens at Bristol Royal Infirmary

From today the sickest adult patients will be cared for in a brand new state-of-the-art Intensive Care Unit at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust as part of the £143 million redevelopment programme. Until recently it has been housed in a facility originally opened more than 20 years ago.

The new intensive care unit provides the very latest technology and state-of-the-art healthcare facilities to deliver the very best care for adult critically ill patients.

Dr Tim Gould, consultant intensivist at University Hospital Bristol said: "The adult intensive care unit at University Hospital Bristol is one of the busiest in the UK and consistently performs in the top 10 of all adult intensive care units in the country according to nationally audited and published data."

The new unit will utilise the most modern technology including fully computerised equipment for monitoring of patients' vital signs, recording of all patient notes and electronic prescribing, thereby removing the requirement for paper records and greatly improving patient safety and drug management. This system has been further customised by the intensive care team at UH Bristol to send alerts regarding a patient's clinical condition directly to the responsible medical team via smart phone or tablet computer immediately alerting them to any change in the patient's condition. This is the first system of its kind in the UK.

Dr Gould said: "This type of "intelligent surveillance" monitoring makes us aware instantly of any problems developing in our patients. We can then respond very rapidly to any concerns with real time information, allowing us to make the 'right decision at the right time'. Ultimately this will make the intensive care unit an even safer place for critically ill patients and ensures they recover faster and with fewer complications".

There will be new 'isolation' cubicles allowing clinicians to care safely for patients and protect those with weak immune systems or with highly infectious diseases.  Each bed space is purposely designed with minimal furnishings to allow thorough cleaning and disinfection to minimise the risk of patients catching infections whilst in hospital. It will also greatly enhance privacy for each patient and their family.

As well as the benefits for patients, the new facility will also features additional benefits for relatives. A new, spacious visitor waiting area with a kitchen facility is a huge improvement over the existing unit, where relatives often had to sit in a hospital corridor.  There are also dedicated rooms available for families requiring more privacy and two bedrooms with ensuite facilities if relatives need to stay overnight to be near to their loved ones.

The cost of the new monitoring system will be met by the fundraising efforts of our hospitals' charity Above & Beyond, whose Golden Gift Appeal is seeking to raise a total of £6 million for projects which are above and beyond what the NHS can typically provide, helping to transform Bristol's city centre hospitals for generations to come. Drummond Forbes, Chairman of Trustees at Above & Beyond said: "Critically ill patients in intensive care at the BRI are among the sickest in the country - if we or our loved ones needed that care we'd want it to be the very best it could be. 

"Everyone donating to our charity's Golden Gift Appeal will be helping to raise the funds needed for a world-class intensive care monitoring system here in Bristol. You will be making a real difference to so many patients - and helping our doctors and nurses to save even more lives."