Williton Window

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15 June 2021 – Critical care unit extension opens to patients this week

More patients than ever before can be cared for at Musgrove Park Hospital’s critical care unit thanks to a brand new extension that opened this week.

The new area, called ‘Pod 3’, replaces an older theatre in the hospital’s Old Building. It has six side rooms and will increase the number of critical care beds at the hospital from 12 to 16.

A critical care unit is a specialist hospital ward that treats patients who are seriously ill and need constant monitoring. These patients might, for example, have problems with one or more vital organ or be unable to breathe without support.

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Musgrove Park Hospital, is committed to delivering the right care for our patients, in the right place, and at the right time.

The trust is transforming the older parts of the hospital to provide the best possible environments for our patients and our colleagues. Musgrove Park Hospital was originally built during the Second World War as a temporary casualty evacuation hospital for the D-Day landings and the Old Building, which houses the operating theatres, maternity unit and critical care, is part of the original hospital and is among the oldest NHS estate in the country.

The opening of Pod 3 is the latest development for the trust’s ‘Musgrove 2030’ programme – developing state-of-art buildings which offer patients safe, effective and personalised care, based on the most advanced treatments, technology, and innovations in healthcare.

Dr Fiona Dempsey, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust’s clinical lead for critical care, said:

“Colleagues in our critical care unit consistently provide our patients with excellent care, but the lack of physical space in the existing unit means the environment they work in is far from ideal.

“While we’re very much looking forward to the opening of our new surgical centre in 2024, which will include a 22-bedded critical care unit, we have felt for a while that we needed additional capacity sooner than that.

“This became even more evident during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when we cared for large numbers of patients, which meant we needed to turn our general theatres into a temporary critical care area.

“There are so many benefits to us opening Pod 3, not least being able to access side rooms,

which has always been a challenge with our existing unit. This will also make it easier for us to clinically isolate patients when we need to for infection prevention and control reasons – which has been particularly important during the pandemic.

“The new area also gives our patients a better experience as every bed is overlooked by a window, giving them natural light, which can greatly help with their recovery.”

Message from Dr Guru Karnati – help us to help India’s rural hospitals

As I’m sure you’ve all seen in the media, India is fighting second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s having an impact on so many families in one way or another.

Oxygen supply is one of the key bottlenecks that the Indian healthcare system is facing, especially at government-run hospitals in rural areas, where oxygen shortage is a huge problem and can often prove to be fatal.

O2 Generators produce large-scale medical grade oxygen that is used for emergency medical services and can also be used to fill oxygen cylinders.

How we can help

A group of us have set up a fundraising campaign with the aim of raising £250,000 that will help to install oxygen generators at seven hospitals in rural areas of southern India.

We’ve joined hands with the Manavata Foundation to deliver this project. The foundation has over 8,000 volunteers and 57 chapters in six countries. It’s a well-known charity registered in India, UK, and the United States.

So far, we’ve raised enough money to purchase the first generator, and it’s being installed over the next few weeks at a hospital in Denkanikottai, which is in the Tamil Nadu region.

If you’re able to help support this project by making a donation, please go to the campaign fundraising website.


New art exhibition at Musgrove Park Hospital – Levels Spirit

A new art exhibition has opened at Musgrove Park Hospital with a special focus on the Somerset Levels.

The exhibition has been co-ordinated by the hospital’s Art for Life programme and designed by well-renowned curator Geoffrey Bertram.

Lisa Harty, art and design coordinator for Art for Life, said: “We’re delighted to introduce this new art exhibition at the hospital. The Somerset Levels are a significant and central feature of the county’s landscape. We walk and drive across them, around them, take the train through them, and paddle their waterways.

“The area provides important agricultural land, as well as being essential feeding grounds for resident and migratory birds. The purpose of this exhibition is to provide glimpses into this world, to show something of those who live on and from the Levels as found in the work of artists who live there, whose art is inspired by what they see around them.”

You can view the exhibition at the Musgrove Gallery and The Wall at Musgrove Park Hospital until 20 July 2021.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are currently operating responsible visiting at our hospitals and units, so we’d encourage people not to visit the hospital unless you are visiting a patient or have an appointment.

For sales and more information, please contact Art for Life on artforlife@somersetft.nhs.uk or 07471 357664. Or visit the website: http://www.somersetft.nhs.uk/art-for-life


About Art for Life

As the trust’s art and design team, Art for Life has worked in partnership with a host of voluntary, educational and third sector organisations, alongside regional and national artists and designers to improve our healthcare environments and the experience for our patients, visitors and staff.

Art for Life supports the creation of high-quality interior and exterior spaces within Musgrove Park Hospital and across the trust’s healthcare settings, achieving a calm environment for patients, visitors, and staff.

Its work involves managing a collection over 600 pieces of art, displayed at locations around  the hospital, organising exhibitions, relaxing musical performances, and opportunities for participatory workshops for patients, visitors, and staff alongside commissioning artists to create artworks which are integrated within the fabric of new or refurbished buildings and outdoor spaces.


Somerset patients lead the way in ground-breaking oxygen trial

Patients being cared for at Musgrove Park Hospital’s critical care unit are taking part in a ground-breaking clinical trial.

The study, called UK-ROX, is being run by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) and funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

It aims to find out what level of oxygen best aids a person’s recovery.

It’s being run at over 100 NHS trusts in the country – and the first four UK patients signed up to the trial were cared for by our trust, at Musgrove Park Hospital.

Each year, around 184,000 patients are admitted to NHS critical care units, and about one in three need help with their breathing using a ventilator.

Giving oxygen through the ventilator is an essential part of treatment, but we don’t currently know how much oxygen should be given to patients to optimise their recovery. Both too much and too little oxygen may cause harm.

The concentration of oxygen given through the ventilator is adjusted according to how much oxygen can be detected in a patient’s blood. This is known as oxygen saturation. Some studies have shown that having a lower, rather than higher, oxygen saturation may be beneficial for patients unwell in hospital.

The UK-ROX study aims to find out whether using a lower level of oxygen during treatment might lead to better outcomes for patients, when compared with the approach currently used in the NHS when treating patients on a ventilator.

How it works

Patients are randomly assigned to either:

· the conservative group (low to normal levels of oxygen)

· or usual oxygen therapy group (normal to high levels of oxygen).

We follow all patients up to 90 days later, by linking study data with routinely collected national records.

We hope to find out whether conservative oxygen therapy was more effective than usual oxygen therapy, by comparing patient outcomes in each group at 90 days following their admission to our critical care unit.

Dr Richard Innes, one of our intensive care consultants and principal investigator for the trial at Somerset FT, said:

“The idea of UK-ROX is primarily to investigate whether keeping a critically unwell patient’s oxygen level at a relatively normal or low level is better for them than raising the level higher.

“There is some evidence that suggests that giving high levels of oxygen to a critically unwell patient produces certain chemicals that are potentially dangerous to patients, causing worse outcomes for them.

“The study will compare the two levels of oxygenation so we can once and for all answer the question as to what oxygen level we should run our patients at when they are critically ill.

“It’s a huge study that will hopefully recruit 16,500 patients across the UK and will go hand in hand with two similar studies in Australia and the United States. Depending on the results, it could result in a significant change in practice for the first time in a generation.

“We’re very proud to have recruited the first four patients in the UK and it really is a testament to our excellent team of research nurses, as well as how they have gone the extra mile to embed research on our critical care unit.

“The study relies on the engagement of our critical care unit colleagues. Our team of research nurses, Trish Doble, Charmaine Shovelton and Rebecca Purnell, have been working tirelessly to train up clinicians on the unit to be able to recruit patients to the trial – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“They also created a clinical resource pack for critical care colleagues to use for reference when recruiting a patient.

“This has been really successful so far and we were delighted to hear three patients had been signed up to the trial over the first weekend by our critical care team – it’s a real reflection on how well research has become embedded in our unit and the care we give to our patients.”

For more information about the UK-ROX trial, go to the ICNARC website: https://www.icnarc.org/Our-Research/Studies/Uk-Rox

For more information about clinical research at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, go to our website: https://www.somersetft.nhs.uk/clinical-research/

This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme (project number: NIHR130508). The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the HTA Programme, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health.

· At Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, we’re currently taking part in 165 active clinical trials.

· Almost 4,500 of our patients are taking part in current clinical trials

· A further 2,500 of Somerset F patients are being followed


Musgrove Park Hospital to get £4.4 million dedicated eye theatre suite


People in Somerset are set to benefit from improved access to eye care thanks to a brand new £4.4 million ophthalmic theatre suite set to open at Musgrove Park Hospital.

The new suite is in addition to Musgrove 2030 – an ambitious programme to transform the hospital’s facilities and ensure people are cared for in the right place to meet their health needs.

It will mean consultant eye surgeons at the hospital will be able to perform many more operations every week.

Mr Ed Herbert, consultant ophthalmologist at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This is an exciting opportunity to improve the service we can offer. The eye unit is the busiest department at Musgrove Park Hospital, carrying out over 3,000 operations every year and providing nearly 50,000 outpatient appointments.

“Historically there has always been a greater demand for surgery than we can meet, leading to long waiting times.

“With new social distancing requirements in place, as well as reduced theatre availability, our ophthalmology patients have inevitably needed to wait longer than we’d wish for a procedure. These new facilities will give greater capacity with the aim of reducing waiting times.”

The suite is being constructed off site as a modular build, complete with all the equipment inside, which means it can be lifted into place with limited disruption to the hospital site.

It will have dedicated changing rooms and private waiting area, as well as rooms for anaesthetists and surgeons to speak confidentially to, and examine, patients before their operation.

Patients will also be able to access the unit direct from the car park without needing to walk through the main hospital building.

This new suite is in addition to a new outpatient macular and glaucoma hub being developed at Chard Hospital, which together will help patients get the excellent eye care they need, in a timely way.

Mr Pradeep Madhavan, orthopaedic consultant at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This new unit will be a modern facility that will allow ophthalmic patients to continue with their surgical treatment safely and in time without being unduly affected by conditions in the rest of the hospital and community.

“The project is moving at pace and is a tribute to the team spirit within the department of ophthalmology and expertise and leadership in various parts of our NHS trust.”

Approval for the development is subject to planning permission and Somerset West and Taunton Council will consider this at its planning meeting in early summer.


Hinkley Point C Free Community Bus

Service resumption from Monday 12th April


The Hinkley Point C Community Bus Service between Bridgwater and Minehead will begin again from Monday 12th April.

Buses used on the service have been modified to allow for social distancing. These measures include the installation of Perspex screens and a clear indication of which seats can be used.

In line with Government guidance, a face covering must be worn by all passengers.

For information on the timetable, bus stops and map see Hinkley Point C Community Bus Service Timetable – April 2021