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Couple’s £10,500 gift to RUH marks Baby Loss Awareness Week

A Wiltshire couple who tragically lost their twin baby girls have raised more than £10,500 to help other grieving parents at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust.

Ali and Holly Jay, from Grittleton, presented their cheque to midwives who cared for their family, marking the start of national Baby Loss Awareness Week activities (October 9-15) at the RUH.

The donation to the hospital’s charity The Forever Friends Appeal and the baby loss charity Aching Arms will go towards creating an outdoor courtyard area next to the maternity unit’s Forget Me Not bereavement suite.

The couple completed a 24-hour, 70-mile sponsored walk around their neighbourhood, supported by friends, family and members of their local community.

Ali said: “We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who helped us to raise this money, and thank you to the amazing RUH staff who’ve done so much for us. We really wanted to give back something to you and to do something positive to help other people who’ll experience the loss of a child.”

Bereavement Midwife Bex Walsh said: “We’re really grateful to Ali and Holly for this incredibly generous donation. It’ll make a real and lasting difference. It’s good too that this helps to raise awareness of baby loss so that families do not suffer in silence. Talking about baby loss will help mums, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles feel able to share their grief and honour their baby’s memory.

“Our Forget Me Not bereavement suite provides a space away from the busy maternity ward where grieving families who have experienced the death of a baby can have the privacy they need at a particularly difficult time. Having a dedicated outdoor area will further improve this service we provide here.”

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Walkers step out to support RUH Bath

On Saturday 18 September, 200 walkers showed their support for their local hospital by taking part in the Walk of Life. The annual sponsored walk along the Kennet & Avon Canal is organised by the Royal United Hospitals Bath charity, The Forever Friends Appeal.

To date, the event has raised over £25,000 and is set to rise further over the coming weeks. Funds raised help the charity invest in life saving medical equipment and life changing services at the hospital. They help transform the lives of thousands of patients and families cared for every year, as well as the staff who are always there for us every day.

Half of the walkers completed the full 26.2 mile marathon challenge from Bishops Cannings, near Devizes. The other half took on 10 miles from Bradford on Avon. Both distances victoriously crossed the finish line at the Holburne Museum in Bath.

Laura Snell, Events and Community Manager, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“A huge congratulations to all of our incredible walkers who stepped out to support the RUH Bath. You really have made every step matter for your local hospital and the many local people who find themselves in need of its services every day.

Whether you walked in memory of a loved one, to support someone receiving treatment, as a patient or staff member yourself, or to get active and support a good cause – you are truly amazing and we can’t thank you enough for all of your hard work, training and fundraising.

The last year and a half has been the most challenging times in history for our NHS and has highlighted just how important it is to the nation and our local community. So we are really proud that we have been able to safely organise this annual event (which hasn’t been able to take place since May 2019!) to raise much needed funds.

The safety of our supporters, patients and the local community remains our number one priority and so the Walk of Life was adapted this year due to COVID-19, to be delivered in a socially distanced and safe way for all. There are also many walkers taking part in the virtual Walk of Life and walking a marathon their way, throughout the whole month of September. Keep going!

We’d also like to thank our brilliant volunteers who marshalled the route and cheered everyone on, to everyone who supported or donated, and to our generous event sponsors MJ Church and Savills.”

Next year’s Walk of Life event will take place on Saturday 21 May 2022 and places will open soon.

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Work gets underway on new Dyson Cancer Centre at the RUH

A groundbreaking event has marked the official start of construction work for the new Dyson Cancer Centre at the Royal United Hospitals’ (RUH) Combe Park site. The new Centre will provide a cancer services hub for half a million people in the South West.

Once complete, the Dyson Cancer Centre will bring together the majority of the RUH’s cancer services, including research, under one roof, providing oncology, chemotherapy and radiotherapy services and a 22-bed inpatient ward.

Cara Charles-Barks, Chief Executive of the RUH said: “It’s fantastic to see work get underway on this truly special building, which will make such a difference for our community. We’ve worked closely with patients, staff and those with an interest in cancer services to design the Dyson Cancer Centre. It will be a nurturing and therapeutic environment where our staff can continue to provide the highest quality care and our patients and their loved ones can receive all the support they need in one purpose designed building.”

Representatives of patients, staff and construction partner Kier as well as key fundraisers the Forever Friends Appeal and Macmillan Cancer were on site to mark the occasion.

Sir James Dyson paid a visit to the RUH earlier in the year, as demolition work to prepare the site for the new Centre drew to a close. Sir James and Deirdre Dyson have a strong connection to the RUH having welcomed two of their children, Sam and Jake, at the hospital. The James Dyson Foundation contributed £4m to the overall cost of the new Centre.

Sir James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer at Dyson said: “The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care demonstrated the very significant effect that design and architecture can have on the recovery of patients. The bright, well designed spaces quickly proved their value to babies, something that we hope to replicate in the new Dyson Cancer Centre.

“Cancer is the most terrible of diseases, but by bringing cutting edge technology, design features, natural light and therapeutic green spaces, we hope this new building will support patients, families and staff through harrowing times.”

In addition to the generous donation from the Dyson Foundation, the RUH’s Forever Friends Appeal raised a further £6m. Rhyannon Boyd, Head of Fundraising said: “We are thrilled to see these works starting and we are extremely grateful to each and every one of the 8,500 supporters who have helped raise funds for the Dyson Cancer Centre, we couldn’t have done it without them.”

The new Centre will also include a specially designed Macmillan Wellbeing Hub. Richard Pugh, Macmillan Cancer Head of Partnerships Wales & South West said: “The Hub will be a non-clinical, calming space, offering practical and emotional support to people living with cancer. It will be there for everyone – from people with cancer to their carers and their families. It will help them every step of the way through cancer from diagnosis, during treatment, in recovery, and at the end of life.”

The remainder of the funding for the Dyson Cancer Centre will be provided by the government.

Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “Delivering cancer care is, and has been a top priority, throughout the pandemic and we remain committed to delivering on our NHS Long Term Plan to save 55,000 more lives from cancer every year by 2028.

“I’m delighted work is beginning on this new cancer facility at the RUH which draws together services and includes a Macmillan Wellbeing Hub, improving NHS cancer services for half a million patients in the South West for many years to come.

“The centre is part of the biggest hospital building programme in a generation, which we’re funding to deliver 40 new hospitals by 2030.”

The groundbreaking event marked the next major milestone in a significant programme of work to transform services and facilities located on the older, northern part of the RUH’s site. The Trust is once again working with construction partner Kier who have played a significant role in the changing face of the RUH.

David Snell, Strategic Healthcare Director at Kier Regional Building Western & Wales said:

“We are delighted to continue our work with the RUH, who we have worked with since 2013. Over that time we have worked closely with the Trust on the phased redevelopment of the hospital, including delivering the William Herschel building – a new modern pathology lab and mortuary, the Forbes Fraser Pharmacy and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) and Brownsword Therapies Centre which opened in September 2019.

The groundbreaking date also marked 10 years to the day since another outstanding facility opened at the RUH, the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care, part funded by the James Dyson Foundation.

Since opening, the award-winning neonatal centre has cared for around 500 babies and families a year, in surroundings that provide a beneficial healing environment for babies and reduce stress levels experienced by their parents. The difference has been demonstrated by the research undertaken comparing the old and new units.

After seeing the success this considered architecture had on medical care, James Dyson was motivated to support RUH with this approach for cancer services. Hear from Sir James and RUH staff following the James Dyson Foundation’s visit to RUH earlier this year here.

Those interested in the new Dyson Cancer Centre can find out more at a virtual event on Wednesday 28 July where there will be the opportunity to hear from some of the team involved in the project and have any questions answered. Email: ruh-tr.capitalprojects@nhs.net if you would like to attend.

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Sign up for the Walk of Life 2021

Take part in the Walk of Life event this year on Saturday 18 September and show your support for your local hospital.

The popular walking marathon event is organised by the Royal United Hospitals Bath charity, The Forever Friends Appeal. After a year of supporting the hospital from a distance, this is an amazing opportunity to be part of an event and make your steps matter for the Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH Bath).

There are three options to choose from – either walk the full 26.2 miles from Bishop Cannings near Devizes, along the Kennett and Avon canal to the finish line at the Holbourne Museum in Bath. Alternatively, there’s the 10 mile distance, where you can join the walkers in Bradford on Avon in the afternoon. This year, a virtual marathon event is being offered too, where you can walk the full 26.2 miles your way across the month of September.

Kerri Gardner, who is donning her walking boots to take on the 10 mile walk this September, is walking to say thank you for the care her dad received in 2016.  Kerri said: “My dad was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at RUH in November 2016. He was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer/Sepsis and after having an operation to have a stoma bag, he had a heart attack and sadly passed away on 11th December.

The support the ICU gave my dad and my family was absolutely amazing and we will never be able to thank them enough. They allowed us to stay by my dad’s side and the very minimal time we did leave him they accepted our calls, passed on messages and generally cared. The staff there did everything they could to keep my dad comfortable and to treat his illness and I will never forget the compassion and understanding they showed him when he was clearly scared.

Personally I don’t do a lot of walking so the Walk of Life will be a challenge for me, but not as big as the challenge the staff at the RUH face daily. I urge anyone no matter how big or small support the RUH where possible as you never know when you may need their support.”

Last year’s virtual Walk of Life marathon event raised £40,000 for the hospital. That money has helped fund a number of projects including the charity’s RUH Cancer Care campaign for the new Dyson Cancer Centre, as well as support wards and department in the hospital.

Laura Pearce, Events and Community Manager said: “With two months until the event, we really can’t wait to welcome people back to our annual Walk of Life event. We are hoping to see hundreds of people join us and those who complete the challenge will receive a unique finisher medal.

Like every charity, we’ve adapted due to COVID-19, so there will be a few changes to the event, including COVID-19 measures to keep everyone safe and offering a virtual marathon for those who want to take part in their own time.”

The Walk of Life event is open to everyone and costs £15 to register. Participants are asked to raise a minimum £100 for any ward or department at the RUH close to your heart, or one of the charity’s major campaigns.

In return, The Forever Friends Appeal will provide walkers with lots of fundraising and training support, as well as complimentary refreshments and treats, as well as a medal and plenty of finish line celebrations.

To find out more about the Walk of Life and to sign up, visit www.foreverfriendsappeal.co.uk. You can donate to Kerri’s fundraising page here.

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Marjorie, 82 to jump out of a plane for hospital charity

Former teacher and eighty two year old local resident Marjorie take to the skies to raise much needed funds for The Forever Friends Appeal – the official NHS charity for the Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH Bath).

Marjorie, part of the Frome community, will be leaping 13,000ft from a plane on Sunday 4th July to show her appreciation for her local NHS, RUH Bath.

Marjorie said, “I have wanted to do a Skydive for a long time and I am delighted that this opportunity has arisen. I used to fly a golden eagle called Samson in Devon and the thought of being able to do, for a little while, what he could do all the time was very tempting.

I wanted to support the RUH because we all depend on it. I received treatment at the hospital a few years ago and the staff made everything easy, simple and painless – it was fantastic.

We have learnt to appreciate our NHS more over the last year because of the Covid crisis. We have seen what the staff are doing and now I think everyone is more appreciative and wants to contribute towards the RUH.

Laura Cherry, Events and Community Coordinator, The Forever Friends Appeal said, “I would like to say a huge thank you and good luck to all our skydive participants. We cannot thank you all enough for taking on this huge challenge to support the hospital.

Wonderful supports and donors like Marjorie allow us to fund projects that make a real difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients cared for by the RUH Bath. Thank you all so much.”

The annual Forever Friends Skydive day will see 15 brave fundraisers take the leap of faith. The team have raised over £10,000 so far.

If you’re interested in future skydiving opportunities for the RUH Bath, please get in touch with the team on ruh-tr.fundraising@nhs.net

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Forever Friends Appeal reaches £10m Dyson Cancer Centre funding target

The Forever Friends Appeal is celebrating reaching its £10m funding target towards supporting the much-anticipated Dyson Cancer Centre at the Royal United Hospitals Bath
NHS Foundation Trust (RUH).

Thanks to the kindness and compassion of thousands of supporters, this milestone achievement comes just as demolition work to clear the way for the new Centre draws to a close at the RUH’s Combe Park site, ahead of construction work starting in summer 2021. Cara Charles Barks, Chief Executive of the RUH said, “Thank you to our local community for being so kind, committed and generous with your time, as well as your giving. This amount is a significant contribution towards the overall cost of the new Centre, and this incredible achievement will help transform the care we provide for patients, families and carers.”

Like the award-winning Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care, the Dyson Cancer Centre has been designed with input from patients and staff to offer an exceptional facility with a therapeutic environment.

RUH Cancer Lead Nurse, Caroline Gilleece, said: “Thank you to everyone that has joined us in raising funds so that we can create something very special, above and beyond what the NHS alone could have provided.”

Rhyannon Boyd, Head of Fundraising at the hospital charity said: “We’re extremely grateful to the patients, families, supporters and NHS staff who’ve contributed – by donating, walking, running, baking and much more. It’s an outstanding achievement and we’re very proud of everyone that has been part of this. We will continue to raise funds for cancer services at the RUH through our charity activities to help patients receive the best possible care.”

The Dyson Cancer Centre will bring the majority of cancer services, including research, under one roof, providing oncology, chemotherapy and radiotherapy services and a 22-bed inpatient ward. We are working with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England & Improvement team on overall timescales so that the hospital can open for patients as early as possible, currently scheduled for autumn 2023.

Cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support has invested an additional £1.5 million into the Dyson Cancer Centre to fund a purpose-built patient support centre at its heart.

The Macmillan Wellbeing Hub will offer advice and support to patients and their families at every step of their cancer journey. You can find out more about the Macmillan Wellbeing Hub, or make a donation here www.macmillan.org.uk/macmillanwellbeinghub Newly-decorated hoardings on the RUH site will screen busy construction work from patients, staff and visitors, but a dedicated webcam will be set up so you can keep an eye on how the project is progressing online at www.ruh.nhs.uk/DysonCancerCentre The remainder of the funding for the Dyson Cancer Centre will be provided by the government as part of the commitment to build 40 new hospitals across the country by 2030, as part of the biggest hospital building programme in a generation.

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Lifesaving equipment provides new service for patients at the RUH

The Forever Friends Appeal, the official NHS charity for the Royal United Hospitals Bath, with the support of the community have been able to purchase medical equipment that will introduce a brand new service to the hospital.

The portable equipment commonly known as a FEES machine, (Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing) will be used by the Speech and Language Therapists to test, assess and provide rapid diagnosis and treatment to patients with swallowing difficulties at their bedside. This will replace the existing service provided by the hospital’s X-Ray department, thus alleviating the movement and transportation of some of our most vulnerable patients.

With the help of a tiny camera, the team of therapists using the FEES at the patient’s bedside will be able to view the mouth and throat and evaluate whether food or liquid is escaping into the patient’s airway and treat immediately, reducing the risk of infection and the need for feeding tubes. Patients who have been affected by a Stroke, Parkinson’s, Cancer, or even COVID-19 along with many other illnesses will benefit from the FEES machine.

Richard Gyde, Deputy Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said: “This equipment is currently only available at a small number of trusts and thanks to charitable support, this service can now be rolled out across the hospital enhancing the service our therapists can provide.

“On behalf of the charity, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported this Appeal through donations, participating in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, our Local Solicitors who generously donated their fees and time in support of RUH Will Month, and the generous charitable support from The Friends of the RUH which helped us complete the Appeal.

Catherine Crawley, Clinical Specialist Speech and Language Therapist – Neuro-trauma said: “The Speech & Language team are overwhelmed by the delivery of the new machine and we are excited to be able to provide a first class service that gives rapid assessments at our patients’ bedside, enabling us to give a much quicker diagnosis and treatment.

“We plan to train more staff and roll the service out to assess patients across the hospital including those in Critical Care – our most vulnerable patients.  We will be looking forward to updating you all on the impact of this equipment, the service it provides and the ways in which it has improved patient care.

“On behalf of my team I would like to thank you everyone who has donated and been part of the fundraising efforts.”

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Bath Half Marathon Postponement Announcement

The organisers of the Bath Half Marathon announced today with regret that this year’s event has been postponed to 13th March 2022, due to the national COVID restrictions for large-scale events plus planned infrastructure projects on the highways network in the City this autumn.

Message from the Bath Half website reads:

“With just over 4 months now before our event date we still do not have clarification from Government on key factors such as whether social distancing will be required, whether spectators will be permitted and whether participants will be required to provide certification of COVID status.

These factors will fundamentally effect how we deliver our event, and without this clarification we do not feel we have sufficient time now to plan our arrangements, or to carry out proper consultations with the council and other stakeholders, or to tender and place the necessary contractors’ orders.

We also feel that the restrictions that are likely to remain on large scale public events this year will change the community character of our event and prevent us from delivering the Bath Half Marathon in the way our runners expect.

Furthermore, following consultation with B&NES Council, we have also been informed that access to the highways for the event will be compromised by a number of infrastructure projects planned this autumn, including the unavoidable repairs to Cleveland Bridge, which were postponed in 2020, and which is a key part of the diversion route around the city during the event road closures.

We are particularly disappointed for the thousands of local runners who regularly take part in the Bath Half Marathon, and for the impact this postponement will have on our 80 local charity partners and local voluntary groups and well as our national charity partners who will lose out on critical fundraising at this challenging time.

It’s heart-breaking to have to postpone our Bath Half Marathon for a second time and we know that many people will be disappointed by this decision. Sadly the combination of uncertainty surrounding continued COVID restrictions for large-scale events and planned infrastructure projects on the highways network in the City this autumn have left us with no choice. But with the support of our entrants, community and partners we’re determined to return in March 2022 with a celebration for our 40th anniversary.

We will be contacting registered entrants today with details of their deferment and refund options.

We will also notify our charity partners, commercial partners, contractors and volunteer groups about arrangements for the event on 13th March.”

Andrew Taylor – Bath Half Marathon Race Director – Running High Events


“Bath & North East Somerset Council recognises the significant role the Bath Half plays in the city’s calendar of events, inspiring fitness and wellbeing within the city, its importance to charities as the largest regional fundraising event, and the boost it gives to the local hospitality economy. We look forward to the return of the event in March 2022”.

Councillor Richard Samuel, acting leader of Bath & North East Somerset


The Bath Half Marathon is the largest sporting and community event in the city and the largest charity fundraising event in the South-West raising £30 million pounds for charity in the 20 years since Running High Events took over management of the event. Cancellation of this year’s Bath Half will have a substantial impact on the event’s 140 charity partners who stand to lose around £2.5 million pounds this year in fundraising, at a time when demand on the charity sector and the cost of service delivery have both significantly increased, due to the COVID pandemic.

“The Bath Half Marathon is an incredibly important event for local charities, not only in terms of fundraising – around £1 million pounds is raised each year for local charities within Bath & North East Somerset (out of a total of £2.5 million pounds raised by the event) – but also in raising public awareness of our work. The funds raised for local charities through the Bath Half are critical to our services in our community, and now with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak these funds are even more essential to keep our vital services going”

Joint statement from local charities : Bath RUH Forever Friends Appeal, Dorothy House Hospice Care and Jamie’s Farm


Events like the Bath Half provide an invaluable role in promoting physical fitness and an active lifestyle, a key to the recovery from the COVID pandemic. The Bath Half provides an inspiration and gateway into the UK’s most popular sport, enjoyed by 7.5 million regular runners in England, including 25,000 regular runners in the Bath area. It also provides a focus and motivation for regular runners, and a pathway for elite competition.

“Studies have consistently shown that outdoor activities such as running are very low risk in terms of COVID-19 transmission, and that organised outdoor running events including parkrun are extremely safe with the correct measures in place.

The overwhelming benefits of exercise and physical fitness, in reducing the risk of serious outcome from COVID-19 and a range of non-communicable diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia, plus mental health benefits, are well known.

Andrew Taylor – Race Director – Running High Events

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Whatley Manor and Spa offer to RUH staff

In order to say thank you to the incredible team of staff here at the RUH, Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa have generously gifted three breaks, each of three nights duration for two people with dinner in their beautiful country hotel!  The team at Whatley want to say thank you by having the opportunity to look after you and share the warm and generous hospitality that is the Whatley experience.

We are inviting all RUH staff members to nominate a colleague of their choosing, who they think has gone above and beyond, during the recent crisis.

Entries are now open, and close at midday on Tuesday 11th August.  Winners will be selected at random from the list of RUH staff members who have been nominated.

Offer now closed

By completing this form you agree to the following terms and conditions:

  • Entry opens on Tuesday 28th July 2020
  • Entry is scheduled to close at midday on Tuesday 11th August 2020
  • Nominators and those persons being nominated must be currently employed by the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust
  • Entrants are required to meet the criteria specified
  • Winners will be selected at random from the list of RUH staff nominated.
  • Persons nominating will not be entered into the draw – unless they have been nominated separately by a colleague
  • Winners will be notified directly, shortly after the competition has ended
  • The competition is only open to residents of the UK who are age 18 years or above
  • If the potential winner cannot be contacted, the winners forfeits all rights to the prize and an alternative winner will be selected
  • The Forever Friends Appeal charity reserves the right to suspend, cancel or modify the prize draw at any time and for any reason without notice
  • The prize is non-transferable
  • Prizes are donated by Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa
  • Winners will have until 30th April 2021 to redeem their gift, dates will of course be subject to availability and excludes Fridays and Saturdays.
  • The gift excludes the following dates 30th August and 31st August 2020, 23 December 2020 to 2nd January 2021. February 14th 2021, 4th and 5th April 2021.
  • Grey’s Brasserie serves dinner Sunday through Monday.
  • The Dining Room serves dinner Thursday to Sunday (please see website for any changes)
  • Bookings will be subject to availability
  • Persons nominating agree to be contacted by The Forever Friends Appeal about your nomination
  • Entry implies acceptance of these terms and conditions as final and binding
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New COVID-19 intensive care unit opens at RUH

A new intensive care unit for COVID-19 patients, built in just 42 days, has opened at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH).

The Pierce Intensive Care Unit has 14 beds available and, with the hospital’s existing intensive care unit, means the Trust now has space for 27 intensive care patients.

Trust Chief Executive James Scott said: “Our teams of staff and contractors have done an amazing job in creating this facility so quickly. Back in March we answered the call from the Department of Health to increase ICU capacity as part of the response to the COVID-19 global pandemic , and in just six weeks we’ve transformed and converted what was a surgical ward into one of the most sophisticated ICUs in the region.”

An improved feature of the new Pierce Intensive Care Unit’s 14 beds is that each is contained in a negative pressure environment – sealed areas with carefully controlled ventilation that prevents contaminated air from escaping the room – which maximises safety for staff and patients. Staff enter and exit via a separate room that acts as an airlock, helping to reduce the risk of infection.

ICU Lead Consultant Dr Andy Georgiou said: “This fantastic ICU is the only such facility in the South West. It allows us to do two things – firstly to expand our intensive care capacity from 13 to 27 beds, and secondly to separate the care we offer to intensive care patients. It means that if you are coming into intensive care having had, for example, a major operation, you can be confident in the knowledge that you will be cared for in a separate location to patients who are critically ill with COVID-19.

“We’re proud to open the unit and are really grateful to the Trust and our contractors and staff who have helped us to develop and build this facility in such a short space of time.”

James Scott said: “While the RUH has, thankfully, not experienced the number of positive COVID-19 patients seen in other parts of the country since the pandemic began, we have rightly followed Department of Health advice to make contingency plans. The new ICU’s extra capacity will allow the Trust to manage any future surge in intensive care demand, and also to plan for the future when more of our hospital services resume.”

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