Critical care unit extension opens to patients this week at Musgrove Park Hospital

More patients than ever before can be cared for on our critical care unit thanks to a brand new extension that opened at Musgrove Park Hospital this week.

The new area, called ‘Pod 3’, replaces an older theatre in the hospital’s Old Building. It has six side rooms and will increase the number of critical care beds at the hospital from 12 to 16.

A critical care unit is a specialist hospital ward that treats patients who are seriously ill and need constant monitoring. These patients might, for example, have problems with one or more vital organ or be unable to breathe without support.

Our NHS trust is committed to delivering the right care for our patients, in the right place, and at the right time.

We’re transforming the older parts of the hospital to provide the best possible environments for our patients and our colleagues. Musgrove Park Hospital was originally built during the Second World War as a temporary casualty evacuation hospital for the D-Day landings and the Old Building, which houses the operating theatres, maternity unit and critical care, is part of the original hospital and is among the oldest NHS estate in the country.

The opening of Pod 3 is the latest development for our ‘Musgrove 2030’ programme – developing state-of-art buildings which offer patients safe, effective and personalised care, based on the most advanced treatments, technology, and innovations in healthcare.

Dr Fiona Dempsey, our clinical lead for critical care, said:

“Colleagues in our critical care unit consistently provide our patients with excellent care, but the lack of physical space in the existing unit means the environment they work in is far from ideal.

“While we’re very much looking forward to the opening of our new surgical centre in 2024, which will include a 22-bedded critical care unit, we have felt for a while that we needed additional capacity sooner than that.

“This became even more evident during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when we cared for large numbers of patients, which meant we needed to turn our general theatres into a temporary critical care area.

“There are so many benefits to us opening Pod 3, not least being able to access side rooms, which has always been a challenge with our existing unit. This will also make it easier for us to clinically isolate patients when we need to for infection prevention and control reasons – which has been particularly important during the pandemic.

“The new area also gives our patients a better experience as every bed is overlooked by a window, giving them natural light, which can greatly help with their recovery.”