15-Mar-2021 Source: NHS
Plans to transform urgent and emergency care services at Worcestershire Royal Hospital could see a relocation and expansion of the hospital’s Emergency Department and the creation of an ‘emergency village’ hosting a wide range of diagnostic and treatment services.
The plans are being drawn up following the offer of an additional £15 million central funding to Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, to deliver improvements in urgent care facilities at the Trust’s Worcester site.
The Trust aims to use the funding to deliver an improved patient experience for patients receiving care from the Emergency Department (ED) and other urgent care services as well as providing clinical teams with a much better working environment.
The expansion of urgent care facilities will further contribute to the improvements being led by local health and care organisations to reduce waiting times, improve ambulance handovers and also introduce new and innovative models of care in and out of hospital.
The preferred location for the new development is in the refurbished Aconbury East block, using two currently unoccupied floors, with an additional ground floor extension.
Dr Jules Walton, an ED Consultant and the Trust’s Divisional Director for Urgent Care, is the clinical lead for the development. She says: “This is a really exciting project which will give us a bigger emergency department to care for the growing number of patients who need our services each year – but it will also be much more than that.
“Our plans also include a dedicated children’s emergency department, X-ray and other diagnostic facilities and a range of same-day emergency care and short stay urgent medical services all in one unit.
“It will give us a better setting to care for our patients and an improved working environment for our staff.
“This development should make a really valuable contribution to the wider work we are doing – across the Trust and with our colleagues across the local health and care system, to reduce waiting times, improve ambulance handovers, and make sure that people get the right care in the right place at the right time.
“As part of a countywide network of urgent and emergency care services, our new development at Worcestershire Royal will be at the heart of our efforts to put patients first.”
The plan also offers an opportunity to relocate the helipad currently located on the far side of the hospital site. That move would mean that patients brought to the hospital by the air ambulance could be transferred straight from the helicopter into the ED rather than having to be transported from the helipad by ambulance as they currently do.
Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, says: “Despite the huge amount of hard work done by our urgent and emergency care teams every day, there is a recognition that on our Worcester site, the ED is simply too small for the volume of patients.
“This development will give us a bigger and better urgent care facility and that is great news for our patients and staff, but it is only part of the story.
“We have seen at the Alexandra Hospital how reconfiguring the ED and acute medical services has delivered real improvements in waiting times and patient experience and we are keen to build on that with the development on our Worcester site.
“The EDs and Acute Medical services at WRH and the Alexandra, as well as our Minor Injuries Unit at Kidderminster, all have an important part to play in our efforts to offer the best possible urgent and emergency care services to the people of Worcestershire.
“But it’s also important that we continue to work closely with our partners, including the West Midlands Ambulance Service, community services and GPs and other primary care services, to build a network of high quality, accessible urgent care services.
“Our shared aim is to deliver as much care as possible for our patients as close to home as we can. For those patients who really need hospital care then we will do everything we can to provide the very best care possible, while also ensuring that as soon as they are well enough we have everything in place for them to go back home.”
Subject to planning approval, building work is due to start on the new development before the end of April, with the aim of a phased opening of the new unit starting in spring 2022.