ROYAL Bournemouth Hospital will soon become one of the biggest critical care units in the UK.

Daily Echo was invited to a private viewing of the new BEACH building ahead of its opening next spring.

A new critical care unit, a dedicated floor for children, and a new maternity unit are among the brand-new units at the BEACH building at Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

It is estimated 4,400 women will benefit from an improved birth experience from the new maternity unit.

Staff and residents across Dorset have been waiting more than 30 years for an improved maternity unit.

The new building is also fundraising for a second state-of-the-art CT scanner.

Statutory funding will provide one CT scanner for the BEACH building, but an additional CT scanner will enable radiographers to scan 13,000 to 15,000 more patients each year.

Matthew Benbow, CT and MRI specialist, said: “The second CT scanner would enable us to scan patients faster so we can get patients onto the wards with their diagnostics or sent home.

“That decision can be made very much quicker because we haven't been the delaying factor.

“If we only had one CT scanner, we would have to be spending more time taking some patients by taking them across to the other side of the hospital.”

The new unit will also have 30 beds, making it one of the biggest critical care units in the country.

This is seven more beds than currently provided at Poole and the Royal Bournemouth Hospitals combined.

When asked what his favourite part of the new building was, Bruce Hopkins, matron at the emergency department, said: “The critical care unit is going to be really good because it allows us to do a very early upfront assessment of patients that are attending to try and make sure they're on the right path at the beginning.

 “This is going to make a massive impact.”

The entire top floor will also be dedicated to children.

Caroline Fawcett, lead play specialist, said: “Something that I think is really important about the new children’s unit is the children having a space that they know that when they come to the playroom, there won't be any treatment, so it's just that time out and space away from the hospital side of things.

“I’m very excited to see this all come to life.”

Donations to the BEACH appeal can be made via the UHD website.