INTENSIVE care patients at Basildon Hospital will be the first in the county to benefit from a dedicated occupational therapist.

Rakesh Guru will care for up to 25 patients in the critical care unit at the hospital and its cardiothoracic centre.

Patients in critical care require the most intensive care and treatments and research has shown the psychological and physical trauma of being in the unit is lessened the sooner occupational therapy begins.

This also leads to less time spent in the unit and, overall less time, in hospital.

Mr Guru said: “I used to be a discharge coordinator, so I was dealing with patients who were well enough to go home. Now I am dealing with the initial rehabilitation of the hospital’s most poorly patients. The critical care unit is a very intense environment.

“I have had to be very diverse in my approach.

I’m not used to being so involved with patients and their families, from day one, but I am