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Special isolation pods are being installed at University Hospital Wishaw and University Hospital Hairmyres to help ease pressure on ICU and manage COVID and non-COVID patients in a safe environment.


Developed by Dundee-based Starn Group, who make a range of equipment to deliver safe working environments, three Safehouse SafeClinic isolation pods have been installed at the Adult Critical Care Unit (ACCU) at Wishaw, with two to be installed in ICU at Hairmyres this week.


The pods at Wishaw took just five days to install initially, plus another day for further adjustments to the ventilation system to ensure adequate air changes followed by a further three days to install permanent monitoring equipment.


Dr Stephan Dalchow, clinical director for anaesthesia and critical care at University Hospital Wishaw, said:


“The ACCU team at Wishaw are really happy that the isolation pods have now been installed. These pods will prove vital as we continue to manage the ongoing challenge of dealing with COVID and non-COVID patients.


“These new ward bays provide ICU with additional state-of the-art isolation facilities. The standalone pods are used to isolate patients from the surrounding environment, which allows medical aerosol generating procedures in patients to be conducted safely.


“The system includes a portable airlock entrance system with high-efficiency particulate air-filtered ventilation which converts the existing rooms into negative pressure isolation rooms.


“This isolation capacity will enable the ICU team to look after COVID-positive patients and patients with other infectious diseases in a clinically safe environment whilst simultaneously helping to stop the spread to healthcare staff and other at-risk patients.


“This will also allow us to bring elective patients from a low risk pathway safely back into our Unit and to be able to co-host them with COVID patients in the same ward without the risk of cross infection. This means we can use our ICU and surgical high dependency unit again to full capacity as we did pre-COVID.


“The pods are a temporary installation but we plan to keep them in place for as long as required.”


Dr Austin Rattray, clinical lead for intensive care at University Hospital Hairmyres, added:


“Following the successful installation of these pods in Wishaw, we will be installing two further pods in the ICU at Hairmyres this week. These pods will help us manage patients within our ICU in an environment that is safe for both patients and staff.”


NHS Lanarkshire recently delayed the introduction of non-urgent elective procedures due to continuing high numbers in ICU.


James Downie, Starn Group, project manager, said:


“We have been delighted to assist NHS Lanarkshire with the implementation of additional infection, prevention and control measures to assist in the fight against COVID-19.


“By utilising three SafeClinic isolation pods within the ACCU of University Hospital Wishaw (UHW) and two SafeClinics and a SafeRoom anteroom within the ICU of University Hospital Hairmyres (UHH), NHS Lanarkshire have successfully added another level of protection for staff and patients within the facilities.


“Thanks to effective collaboration and communication with the teams at NHS Lanarkshire, Starn Group has been able to produce the largest SafeClinics it has ever produced, with each unit encapsulating 58 cubic meters.


“Patient and staff comfort was also enhanced with the installation of continuous monitoring systems which measured oxygen, carbon dioxide and temperature levels within the units with audio and visual alarms.”

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