WORK is now complete on the first two phases of a newly-refurbished state-of-the-art critical care unit at Royal Preston Hospital.

The project was planned long before the Covid-19 pandemic, but additional government funding has enabled the work to be accelerated, allowing the first two phases to be completed several months ahead of schedule.

The unit includes six isolation rooms which have been designed specifically to support a pandemic such as the coronavirus.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals chief executive Karen Partington said patients would be moved in from next week.

“The new and improved facilities are of an exceptionally high quality, and the teams involved have worked so hard to make this project happen.

“This investment will improve both the patient experience and the facilities for our incredibly dedicated team.”

With increased natural light and enhanced patient facilities, the unit features 14 bed spaces, including six isolation rooms, two of which have ‘ante rooms’ that provide a negative-air chamber to isolate the workspace from the patient, which is designed to support a pandemic.

On completion in February 2021, the 34-bed unit will provide improvements focusing on facilities for patients, relatives and staff, including a kitchen and reception area.