Transformation of intensive care


I&G are specialists at construction in the backdrop of challenging environments. However, Barnsley Hospital’s new £7.3m Intensive Care Unit (ICU) was successfully navigated and delivered through a tight space equivalent to the size of an ambulance.
The new unit will double the capacity of the hospital’s intensive care beds to meet current pressures and enhance and protect patient care to futureproof patient demand.
The high-quality purpose-built unit has been constructed within the footprint of the existing hospital, within an enclosed courtyard space making way for the state-of-the-art new ICU.
This challenging project was carried out in the middle of a live hospital environment, whilst allowing staff to carry on as normal around them. The scope of works needed a construction company with extensive experience in working in sensitive healthcare settings, who could ensure Barnsley Hospital can continue providing excellent patient care throughout the build.

The solution
The I&G team successfully navigated the complex multi-million-pound programme within the challenging environment of a live hospital, working closely with the Trust to ensure that patient care wasn’t impacted.

The existing three levels of office and ancillary space needed to be updated for the optimal reconfiguration, as well as external roofing works, and service connections to the new mechanical plant.

Scroll across to see the works included.
Works included:
• Asbestos strip and demolition of existing facility
• New pile and raft foundation slab for the new build
• New steel frame structure with brick and block façade
• Internal stud wall construction
• Installation of specialist wall cladding and suspended ceiling finish to meet infection control requirements
• Connection of new to existing services to facilitate the ICU
• Refurbishment of existing spaces to update the adjoining ward reception area and create new office space and changing facilities for staff
• Erection of new concrete roof with taping insulation and single ply
A part of the ICU at Barnsley Hospital
Barnsley Hospital's Clinical Director for Surgery

Dr Tim Wenham says:

“This project is great news for both our patients and our staff as this high-quality, purpose-built unit will allow us to provide the best possible care for our patients. In addition to the massively improved space and environment, there is also the huge safety advantage of greater proximity to theatres, radiology and the emergency department. The new unit will also enhance patient experience and wellbeing with more appropriately sized and spaced-out beds, better lighting and décor, as well as enhanced provisions for patient privacy. These factors all contribute to shorter stays, quicker discharges, and speedier recoveries in general.

The opening of the new unit marks a key milestone in Barnsley Hospital’s capital development projects, contributing to its strategic goal to be ‘Best for patients and the public’.”

A section of the Intensive Care Unit

The challenges

Logistically, the scheme was one of our most challenging projects. With the only access to the site by a 2m x 2m doorway with the backdrop of a live dynamic hospital, that’s like having to take a whole building site through the back doors of an ambulance!

Working in collaboration with the Trust and clinical teams, the team was able to successfully take all materials, including 77 miles of electrical cable, through the doorway. Anything that couldn’t fit through the doorway had to be lifted by crane outside of working hours. This ensured that all clinical teams and ambulance services could continue to operate as normal in their day to day duties.

The 2m x 2m door through which the I&G team had to bring all construction materials and equipment

Communication was a key factor

Communication with the Trust team was a key factor for this project. The site works were adjacent to the Surgical High Dependency Unit, so it was important to make sure all hospital operations were able to carry on as normal. The scheme was built in phases to ensure that there was always an emergency birthing route available, in case mothers and babies needed to be transported quickly to an operating theatre.

Co-ordination of service connection required open live-link communication, programming, and sequencing with the Trust to ensure live service feeds to critical hospital services remained fully operational throughout the project.

The entrance to the intensive care unit

The result

The outcome of this project has transformed the way the most poorly patients are cared for in Barnsley Hospital. The ICU has now gone from having seven beds, to being able to care for sixteen patients, with eight further escalation bays which can be brought into use during periods of high demand – that’s more than doubled the amount of critically-ill patients that can be cared for at once.

This relieves pressure on other areas of the hospital, and means the hospital is ready for future demand for beds.

All this was achieved within budget, with no accidents, while the hospital staff were able to carry on their vital work as normal, showing a true partnership between the hospital and I&G.

We’re investing heavily in our facilities right across the Trust. These critical care beds will not only expand our capacity to care for the most poorly patients, but will help relieve some of the pressures elsewhere in our hospital and allow our teams to ensure their patients receive the best possible treatment and care.’

Dr Richard Jenkins, Barnsley Hospital Chief Executive

I&G Managing Director

Christopher Carline said:

“The scheme has been delivered in a relatively short build period when considering the logistical and access limitations of the live hospital environment. It is testament to the key subcontract, design, and NHS Trust teams working collaboratively with our team at I&G, whose commitment and hard work has delivered a high-quality new unit for the people of Barnsley.”