RCHT Chairman Martin Watts, together with staff from the Emergency Department (ED) at the Royal Cornwall Hospital marked the start of work on a phased modernisation and expansion of ED facilities and services with a ceremonial tree planting today, Friday 9 November.
The full modernisation programme involves over a number of discrete phases, extension and improvement works to the Emergency Department and the introduction of new ways of working across the clinical services on the site and is one of the cornerstone projects of RCHT’s Clinical Site Development Plan. Through a number of discrete phases over the next 18 months, the modernisation programme will lead to significant improvements to the existing facilities and services.
Patient numbers at the Emergency Department have increased by 10 percent over the past five years, with the team now expecting to see over 60,000 emergency patients per year.
Andy Virr, Lead Consultant in Emergency Medicine for RCHT, said: “This is an exciting modernisation and expansion of our facilities in the emergency department. As well as physically redesigning the building, it will let us put in place the changes we want to make to improve patient flow for all emergency admissions, offering a better working environment for the team here and a much better experience for our patients.”
The £2.2m Phase 1 consists of an extension that will sit within the former courtyard area between the Emergency Department and Fracture Clinic. Phase 1 has been carefully planned to maintain services throughout the programme of building works expected to complete ahead of the 2013 summer season and similar detailed planning for future phases will be undertaken before those phases commence . When completed the modernisation programme will ultimately lead to the redesign of a large part of the existing department, including new facilities for children and improvements to waiting areas and cubicles.
Garth Weaver, Associate Director of Planning & Projects at RCHT said: ‘The programme of works has required considerable planning and will consist of a number of discrete phases, designed to cause a minimal disruption to services and planned around the availability of capital funding. By the end, the Department will have significantly increased its capacity, future proofing it for a number of years and will have undergone a complete modernisation, bringing it up to the high standards that our patients expect.’
The project has benefited from a £1.2 million contribution from the Department of Health as part of a £330 million allocation across hospitals in England for new operating theatres, emergency departments and other services, as well as new scanners and ultrasound equipment. The remainder of the cost is being funded by RCHT’s capital programme.
This first phase of the project, which as been designed by HLM Architects and will be constructed by Mansells, is due to be completed ahead of the 2013 Summer season.