Hospital opens new £1.8m care cente

PATIENTS whose lives were saved at an Essex hospital returned yesterday for the opening of a new £1.8million critical care department. Nearly 20 people joined staff at Colchester General Hospital in the state-of-the-art facility which will deal with some of its most serious cases.

PATIENTS whose lives were saved at an Essex hospital returned yesterday for the opening of a new £1.8million critical care department.

Nearly 20 people joined staff at Colchester General Hospital in the state-of-the-art facility which will deal with some of its most serious cases.

The department has a total of 14 beds for those needing high dependency and intensive therapy following surgery and accidents.

The new unit will also have three rooms for relatives so they can have time to talk privately and also so staff can brief them.


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Among the specially invited guests at the official opening were many who would not be alive today had it not been for the staff at the hospital.

Josephine Brown, 54, of Clacton was twice resuscitated back to life on the former critical care unit when she was admitted two years ago after a bowel operation.

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She said: “I had three operations in a week and then went onto the high dependency unit for two weeks.

“I caught pneumonia and my heart stopped twice while I was in intensive care and I was resuscitated both times, so I would not be here today otherwise.”

Her husband, John, 74, said the new unit would be better for the families of the patients.

“Previously there were not any windows so I did not know if it was night or day,” he said.

“It is not the patient that is worried about the decoration - it is the people who are visiting who are taking the strain.

“The staff were marvellous and the aftercare has been brilliant.”

The ward was opened by Alexandra Stephenson from Manningtree who was treated for serious injuries after a horse-riding fall.

Anne Morris, a senior manager for Essex Rivers Healthcare Trust, said the first patients had moved onto the ward back in July.

She added: “The funding has come from Essex Strategic Health Authority, although we had to show that we were able to supply part of that funding ourselves.

“The patients here require support of one or more organs, so we have people who have had major surgery or car accidents.”

Another feature of the new unit is a special isolation room with an airlock to prevent germs spreading.

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