Croydon Hospital's Intensive Care Unit (ICU) will undergo a multi-million pound refurbishment after new funding was secured for the facility.

The ICU at the NHS Croydon University Hospital was described as "one of the hardest hit" during in the Covid-19 pandemic so far, with many of the most serious Covid patients in the area being sent there for urgent medical care.

On Monday (August 23), Croydon NHS announced that the final green light had been given to proposals that will see £14.7 million be invested into creating 22 intensive care and high dependency beds (up from 15) and so increase the size of the unit "by half".

The refurbishment is billed to last 18 months, with work set to officially start "in Autumn" this year and be completed in 2023.

"Our intensive care team have been at the heart of our COVID response in Croydon, caring for extremely unwell patients around-the-clock, and often for months at a time as we try to help people beat this virus and care for other serious illnesses and injuries. The pace has been relentless and the arrival of this announcement could not be better timed," Matthew Kershaw, chief executive at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, said.

"With more beds, we will be able to make sure more patients can receive highly specialist intensive care they need close to where they live, in a much more modern and comforting environment that our patients – and staff – deserve," he added.

According to Public Health England (PHE) data, some 1,018 died in Croydon with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate as one of the causes since the start of the pandemic.

Many nurses in Croydon, some of whom died after contracting coronavirus, have meanwhile been praised for their efforts in helping those hospitalised with the virus.

NHS Croydon said the expansion of the ICU at Croydon University Hospital would five the unit the "flexibility to respond to surges in demand" as we have seen during previous waves of Covid-19.