A SOUTHAMPTON hospital has unveiled a £1.5m unit to tackle one of the city’s major health issues.

Southampton General Hospital opened its hi-tech respiratory high dependency unit, which has been hailed as a major step forward for caring for patients with severe lung and breathing problems.

It has also created 12 jobs for the hospital, bringing the total number of nurses to 33.

Dr David Land, consultant respiratory physician at the hospital, said: “The opening of this unit really is a momentous occasion for everyone involved with respiratory high dependency care in Southampton – it is the biggest development in ten years.

“Although the pressures on respiratory care, as with many other specialities, have increased greatly over recent years, our facilities had not kept pace with that change.

“Now, though, we are able to celebrate not just an expansion in capacity and staffing, but a fantastic new and modern facility that enables us to meet demand while also providing the best possible environment for our patients.”

The nine-bed unit, which will be situated in the west wing of the hospital, treats patients with conditions including asthmas, pneumonia, motor neurone disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It will also have four additional side rooms with en suite bathrooms plus state-of-the-art monitoring equipment.

Dr Land added that the expansion will also help to further reduce pressure on the emergency department and intensive care, which together account for about half of all admissions to the high dependency unit.

He said: “At a time of increasing emergency admissions across hospitals nationwide, this development will further enhance our ability to improve patient flow and reduce pressure on the urgent and critical care services whilst improving the environment for patients.”