A new 18-bed modular ward has been installed at Kettering General Hospital (KGH) to provide extra capacity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ward, which was supplied by Vanguard Healthcare Solutions and has been set up in the car park at the hospital’s main site in Rothwell Road, is being used as a contingency measure, providing the hospital with temporary additional bed capacity for non-Covid patients.

Over the past few months, many hospitals have needed to reconfigure internal theatre and ward space to ensure sufficient capacity is retained for Covid-19 patients. Kettering’s main hospital is no exception.

A bed modelling exercise at the start of the pandemic suggested the hospital may need additional bed capacity to deal with the crisis effectively, and the Trust decided to commission a modular ward to create another ‘green’ zone, away from Covid-19 areas, where at-risk patients could be safely cared for.

The stand-alone ward facility was completed within a period of five weeks, a very short timescale for a project of this nature, even without the additional challenges caused by lockdown restrictions that were in place during the build.

The modules were built off-site by Young Medical, Vanguard’s specialist modular subsidiary, and were lifted into position by crane. The remainder of the work was then completed on site to an extremely tight schedule.

Vanguard’s project team worked in close collaboration with the Trust on all aspects of the commissioning, deployment and delivery. This approach minimised risk as well as any ‘drift’ in the project timeline, something that was crucial to ensuring the facility was delivered on time and within budget.

The finished building is 600sqm and consists of 18 beds. There are also utility rooms, storage space and a nurse station area on the ward. The internal configuration was designed with efficient patient flow in mind, maximising the use of available space and ensuring the practical – and safe – transfer of patients arriving from the main hospital building.

Having been open to patients since 1 June, the ward is being used to house primarily at risk, vulnerable or elderly patients before, during and after treatment. To ensure the ward stays Covid-free, all patients are screened and tested before coming onto the unit.

The facility is expected to remain on site for an initial period of 6 months, allowing the hospital to retain Covid-19 capacity within the hospital in case of a second wave.

A KGH spokesman said: “The new block housing the 18 bed ward was installed as a contingency measure to support the safe management and flow of non-Covid patients, as we continue to care for Covid-19 patients at the hospital. Since the facility became operational, both staff and patients have been pleased with the spacious, clean and bright new ward space.

“Having the additional bed capacity at our disposal at this critical time has been extremely valuable, and the fact that it’s situated away from the main hospital building has provided reassurance for at-risk patients, who may have been worried about the risks of attending hospital.”

Brian Gubb, Vanguard’s Director of Operational Solutions, said: “We’ve worked closely with the Trust throughout the project, and are very pleased to be able to provide a solution to KGH’s additional capacity needs during the Covid-19 pandemic. Vanguard’s flexible temporary solutions are ideal for use as a Covid-free zone, as they can be completely stand-alone.”

Rob van Liefland, Managing Director of Young Medical, said: “Given that the UK was in full lockdown during the build, and that strict infection control and social distancing guidelines needed to be observed, the tight timescale proved particularly challenging.

“The modular construction method, whereby units were built off-site before being craned in and finished, meant we were able to get the new ward up and running very quickly, despite the additional challenges caused by the lockdown restrictions.”

To find out more about Vanguard’s mobile and modular facilities and Covid-19 solutions, please get in touch.