Official opening of respiratory unit which offers key support for Wigan patients

A hospital unit used to care for patients during the coronavirus pandemic has been officially opened.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 9:55 am

Wigan Infirmary’s enhanced respiratory care unit has been vital in helping those who were seriously ill and will continue to provide crucial support for patients and staff during the winter months.

A small ceremonial inauguration of the unit has now been held by Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Abdul Ashish, consultant respiratory physician and divisional medical director for medicine, spoke about the importance of the unit, how it was set up and how it will continue to be used to treat patients.

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Silas Nicholls, chief executive, and ward manager Hannah Windsor at the official opening of Wigan Infirmary’s enhanced respiratory care unit

He said: “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.”

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Silas Nicholls, the trust’s chief executive, 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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