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Andrew Stephenson MP with Dr Premraj Prabhakaran outside of the new ICU building

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has praised Airedale General Hospital’s new award-winning Intensive Care Unit and ward decant facility and has given his backing for a new hospital to address structural issues in the main part of the hospital.

Mr Stephenson was given a tour around the new state-of-the-art £16m facility -, which has created a bigger, modern critical care facility and a 30-bedded ward space, which is currently home to the hospital’s respiratory ward.

The new modular build, which won the Project of the Year category at the prestigious Health Estates and Facilities Management Association (HEFMA), is one of the first in the NHS that consumes no fossil fuels, with heating and hot water provided by renewably sourced electricity.

The two-storey building, which opened last summer, was constructed to increase ward space at the hospital so that the Trust could begin a rolling programme of structural works in its other wards. The work is needed because the hospital is constructed largely of a material called reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), which has been identified nationally as being at risk of structural failure due to its age and type of construction.

The facility is connected to the existing hospital corridor at ground floor level to maintain access between the wards and operating theatres.  The critical care unit has 15 beds and is over 1500m2 in size, giving staff the space needed to provide vital care.

A key feature of the new critical care unit is that the patient care and treatment areas are significantly bigger, in line with modern healthcare building standards.  The previous unit was designed as a standard ward in the 1970s and no longer fit the current space that is needed for equipment and technology surrounding a patient critical care bed.

While visiting the hospital he said:

“I was delighted to visit Airedale Hospital’s new, bigger and better £16 million Intensive Care Unit. This is a real boost to the NHS facilities available locally.

“Having supported modern methods of construction when I served as a Business Minister responsible for the construction sector, I was especially excited to see how these have been used to bolster our local NHS.”

Funding for the modular building was given to support the work Airedale NHS Foundation Trust is carrying out to address the significant structural issues it is facing.

Last year the Trust bid for government funding to rebuild the hospital through the New Hospital Programme and a formal announcement is expected from the Government.

A large-scale programme of decanting each ward and department is underway to allow structural works to take place.

Andrew Stephenson added:

“I have been helping push for a new hospital building for Airedale, and I am pleased to be working with other local MPs supporting the campaign for this. The current hospital was built to last thirty years, over fifty years ago and the need is now urgent.”

Julie Brook, Critical Care and Critical Care Outreach Matron said:

“We were pleased to welcome Andrew to see our fantastic new ICU, which has really improved the environment in which we can care for patients; providing significantly bigger patient treatment areas.

“With larger bed areas in the new unit we have more space for staff and for the life-saving medical technology needed for patients including monitors, ventilators and dialysis machines. We also have better quality facilities for the families of patients including relatives’ bedrooms with ensuite facilities”

Andrew added:

“My visit came at a time when I know NHS workers up and down the country are working incredibly hard under intense pressure, and that’s true of the team at Airedale Hospital. I offer everyone who works at the hospital my heartfelt thanks for their dedication and hard work.”