Known as the Kitty Hubbard HDU, it will strengthen the service the hospital provides for patients who have had major surgery or who no longer need intensive care but still require specialist monitoring and require a higher level of organ support.
This brand new state-of-the-art facility will care for both elective and emergency patients, and will initially have four beds.
Blanca Boira Segarra, Clinical Director for Theatres, Critical Care & Anaesthetics, said: "Until now we didn't have a dedicated area for these patients and Kitty Hubbard HDU will support patients from all specialities across the hospital who need a higher level of care than can be provided on the speciality wards, but who do not need intensive care. In HDU the patient and nurse ratio is much higher than in a normal ward, there will be one nurse looking after two patients.
"In addition, the HDU beds could prevent admission of deteriorating patients to ITU by providing speedy intervention in a high dependency environment. Prior to HDU opening these patients would be cared for in wards across the Trust, now we will bring patients together for specialist care rather than our staff and equipment having to go to several different areas.
"The new unit will also help us stepping patients down from the Intensive Care Unit before they go back to a normal ward. This will have a positive impact on the capacity to admit intensive care patients."
And this has been made a reality, in part, thanks to the generosity of local people. £212k was donated by the hospital associated charities who helped bring this fantastic lifeline to patients into being. This money enabled the Trust to purchase essential medical equipment to furnish the unit with state-of-the-art technology.
The Southend Hospital Charitable Foundation For Wards Appeal contributed £60,000 towards the cost of equipping one HDU bed. The majority of this money, £50,000, was raised from the proceeds of the Southend Hospital Charity Shop in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff, which equates to a year and a half's trading income. The remaining £152,000 came from donations and legacies left to Southend Hospital Charity for the benefit of critically ill patients.
Fred Heddell, Chair of the Charitable Funds Committee said: "We are proud to support the opening of this fantastic new facility. Our thanks go to the local community who supported our appeal and for the generosity of legators, who have been kind enough to remember us in their wills."