Multi-million pound upgrade coming to North Tees hospital this month
A multi-million pound upgrade to a Teesside respiratory ward is to open to patients in the coming weeks.
The University Hospital of North Tees is set to see its new £2.5m respiratory support unit open on 22 November as winter pressures loom over the NHS.
Health officials say the new facility in the hospital's main tower will replace one of two existing respiratory wards to improve infection control and provide a better ventilation system.
Covid patient numbers have held steady since September at the trust.
Meanwhile, neighbouring South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust continues to see high demand - with 85 people receiving Covid care at the moment.
The new North Tees unit will offer better infection control and isolation facilities and better visibility of patients at the ageing site.
It will also include a central "tele-monitoring and alert system" as well as an increased oxygen supply.
Respiratory consultant Vandana Jeebun says Covid showed the existing unit needed "significant modernisation" to cope.
The work comes amid wider efforts to fund an overhaul and rebuild of North Tees Hospital as the site continues to deteriorate.
Dr Jeebun says Covid challenges had driven them to design a unit to meet the needs of their sickest covid patients and non-virus patients during winter.
"A lot of team work has gone in to meticulously design this bespoke unit," she adds.
"It's almost ready and the huge investment in time and funds will soon be benefiting patients."