McEntee ward at St George’s Hospital has re-opened after a major refurbishment, courtesy of funding from St George’s Hospital Charity.

The ward was first established in 1988 at the height of the HIV and AIDS pandemic as a purpose built infectious diseases unit, the first of its kind in south London.

Since then, the ward has cared for patients with a wide range of infectious diseases – including tuberculosis, HIV, malaria and meningitis. The ward also provided isolation rooms, which are needed for certain patients to reduce the risk of cross-infection.

Linda Smith, Matron on the ward, said: “The ward has been such an important part of St George’s recent history, but it needed a refurbishment, and we were so lucky to receive a substantial legacy from a former patient, Mr Thomas, and we wanted to make the very best use of his generous offer.”

In December 2019, the ward was temporarily closed to enable refurbishment works to take place, and re-opened last month.

Linda said: “We wanted to make the en-suite shower rooms into wet rooms, to allow better and easier access for our patients. Patients treated on McEntee ward can also spend weeks in isolation, and it can be a really difficult time for them – so we wanted to make the ward look and feel more welcoming.”

As a result of Mr Thomas’ donation, and thanks to St George’s Hospital Charity, McEntee ward has now re-opened after refurbishment, with 18 dedicated side rooms for patient requiring isolation. The ward has new flooring throughout, a new staff hub, enhanced lighting, plus modern ventilation to ensure patients and staff on the ward are kept safe.

Linda added: “I would like to thank our estates and facilities team, especially John Cronin and Chad Gray for their tireless work in ensuring the charitable money was used in the best way. The team also worked hard to ensure the work was completed in the shortest time possible to ensure the ward was ready to open and care for Covid-19 patients. We also grateful to Mr Thomas and St George’s Hospital Charity for making the refurbishment possible.”

She said: “McEntee ward was such an important part of the hospital’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic of the 1980s, so it’s quite poignant that the refurbished ward has opened just as we enter a new but very different pandemic in the form of Covid-19”.