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New state-of-the-art adult and neonatal intensive care units open at Trust's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

02 July 2021

The new critical care units have been officially opened at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital this week.

State-of-the-art adult and neonatal intensive care units have been officially opened at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital this week. The Trust, and its charity CW+ opened the new units following a major expansion and redevelopment programme, which will enable more than 2,000 critically ill adults and babies to be treated every year at the Chelsea site.

The capacity of the new Adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU) has increased by 45%, allowing the Trust to care for an additional 500 patients every year - the first phase was fast-tracked to open last March to help provide treatment for an increased number of patients in ICU due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit's (NICU) capacity has expanded by 40% providing specialist care to 150 more babies every year, as well as providing better clinical space and family facilities.

Thanks to CW+, Julia and Hans Rausing and other generous donors, the Trust has been able to develop world-class ICU facilities with a first-of-its-kind patient-led approach to care. The new unit aims to significantly improve critically ill patients’ recovery and wellbeing by creating optimal healing environments and incorporating the latest innovations and digital solutions that can be personalised to reduce anxiety, pain and stress.

Lesley Watts, Chief Executive Officer at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a really proud moment for our Trust and a huge achievement, especially during these challenging times. So many people have been involved in the redevelopment and I can’t thank our staff, partners, CW+ and incredible donors enough for helping create this pioneering, modern and patient-centred critical care service in the UK.

“The new Julia and Hans Rausing ICU has already played such an important role in helping to deal with the pressures of COVID-19, and the expansion reinforces the hospital’s reputation as a centre of excellence and innovation. We are proud that we can extend our level of care to help treat hundreds more critically ill adults and babies each year”.


The development of the new ICU has been based on extensive research with the acoustics, lighting, layout and furnishing having all been selected for the patient’s brain, body and senses to rest and heal more effectively. The patient-focused environment includes, for example, media screens to enable engagement with the hospital’s arts in health programme and contact with family and friends, noise-reducing equipment, and the latest sensor technology to monitor patients’ health, progress and environment.

The new NICU unit - made possible by generous charitable support from the Khoo Teck Puat UK Foundation and other generous supporters - has expanded to increase not only the number of cots but also provide additional space and privacy around each one – so staff can treat babies with their parents close by, while also reducing the risk of infection, to which premature babies are particularly vulnerable.

Chris Chaney, Chief Executive Officer at CW+, (the Trust's charity) said: “We launched our £12.5 million Critical Care Campaign in 2017 to help transform our ICU and NICU and are indebted to our supporters who enabled us to achieve our fundraising goal in just two years. We are so incredibly grateful to our friends, partners and the local community who made our shared vision to create these world class facilities come true.

“These new facilities bring together our core strengths in digital innovation, environment and design, and testing and scaling the latest clinical technologies. Our ongoing research and evaluation will continue to inform the all-important work we are doing today whilst taking us forward into a new phase of health and care service design. As a charity, our ambition is to support our Trust during this period of profound change across the NHS - with research, discovery and innovation remaining at the forefront of our next generation of plans to develop cutting-edge clinical services, which will include supporting the mental health of young people and the remote care of older people across our community in the year ahead."