STRUCTURE: the University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust has opened a £2.26m infectious disease unit.

The new 14 bed unit at the trust’s City General Hospital site has taken eight months to convert from a basic ward into a centre with the latest weapons to fight infectious diseases.

Four rooms are low pressure isolation rooms designed to keep the “most vicious” of infections out of the rest of the hospital and the community. To cut down their contact with the outside world still further, many aspects of their care can be controlled remotely via hi-tech links with the nurse station.

The previous infectious disease ward was one of the oldest parts of the hospital, dating back to when it served as a Victorian workhouse.

The trust said patients “have moved only a few hundred yards, but it represents a leap forward from the 19th to the 21st century for their surroundings”.

Dr Tony Cadwgan, consultant infectious disease, said: “The old unit was safe but it was uncomfortable, not user-friendly, cramped and inefficient.”