Archbishop blesses new critical care unit 

Archbishop Welby and Jane Kirk Smith Matron
Published on 14 April 2022

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, praised staff for their ‘faithful and tenacious service’ on a visit to William Harvey Hospital in Ashford this week, where he blessed the hospital’s new critical care unit, due to open later this month.

The Archbishop heard from nurses, doctors and hospital chaplains about their experiences of caring for patients throughout the pandemic and spent time with patients recovering from serious illnesses during a visit to the hospital on Monday (11 April).

Blessing the ‘extraordinary new unit’ he prayed for staff who ‘give nights days and weekends, Christmases and holidays, to work and serve here and whose deep emotional commitment is to the wellbeing of patients and staff.’

Donning hard hats and his vis jackets, A&E nurses then welcomed the Archbishop to see inside a major expansion of the hospital’s Emergency Department, currently being built, and heard how the significantly expanded unit will benefit patients and staff.

Tracey Fletcher, East Kent Hospitals Chief Executive said: “The experience gained through the challenges of the pandemic has enabled our clinical teams to design and assist in delivering an outstanding new critical care unit and a major expansion of the emergency department that will significantly help us improve care for our patients.”

The hospital’s new, 24-bed unit critical care unit, funded by £14 million national NHS investment, has been designed to provide the hospital’s sickest patients with the very best care and experience, shaped by learning from the Covid pandemic.

The emergency departments at William Harvey Hospital, Ashford and QEQM Hospital, Margate are undergoing an exciting transformation thanks to £30m national NHS investment.

Both departments are being significantly expanded, with new treatment areas for adults and children, improved waiting areas and staff facilities.