Winter preparations continue with respiratory unit inauguration

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Enhanced Respiratory Care Unit has played a vital role in the Trust’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020 and is set to continue to provide crucial support to patients and staff as we head into the winter months.

At a small ceremonial inauguration of the unit at the end of September, Dr Abdul Ashish, Consultant Respiratory Physician and Divisional Medical Director for Medicine at WWL, explained the importance of the unit, how it came to be and how it will continue to help save lives and provide the most appropriate care for patients.

“When COVID-19 hit us last March and the demand for beds in our intensive care unit began to rise, there was an increased need for respiratory support due to the nature of the virus. As a result, we chose Winstanley Ward to convert into a non-invasive ventilation unit to provide respiratory support for those patients who were becoming severely ill with COVID-19.

“By doing this and having specific ward-based care available to patients, we were able to prevent a lot of patients from needing our intensive care unit or deteriorating on other wards. This was coupled with our research into the early use of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, which was recognised internationally.

“Our staff were incredible in their efforts in terms of training and expertise, and we engaged quickly to recruit international nurses so that we could begin treatment within just a few weeks.”

WWL’s Chief Executive, Silas Nicholls, who was in attendance for the inauguration alongside members of the Winstanley Ward team, added:

“Without this unit and the amazing team working to care for the patients who required this type of treatment, the already demanding pressures put on our Trust’s response to COVID-19 would have been much higher.

“The unit has continued to provide much needed support and forms part of our plans to make sure we are in the strongest position possible ahead of the winter months and beyond. Alongside keeping our staff and patients safe through COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, it is just as important to make sure our facilities are well-equipped to deal with anticipated winter pressures, as this will allow our teams to continue to care for patients in the safest and most effective way.”

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