Kettering General Hospital has opened the new extension to its A&E department to help improve care facilities for its sickest patients.
The new extension – which opened on Sunday (May 1) - provides a state-of-the-art ‘majors’ department with 13 bays for patients with complex medical and surgical needs.
It is linked to the existing A&E department by a covered corridor.
It means the hospital has improved its care facilities for the sickest A&E patients, improved working conditions for staff, and enabled the creation of a new emergency decisions unit within the existing A&E department to help the hospital to improve patient flow.
Kettering General Hospital chief operating officer Rebecca Brown said: “The growing demand for urgent care in north Northamptonshire has led to a large increase in A&E patients attending our department over the past five years.
“We now see more than 83,000 patients per year – often as many as 250 patients per day.
“In 2010-11 we saw 67,500 patients – 185 patients per day – so we have seen a 22.8 per cent increase in attendance in five years.
“To cope with this increase we recognised that our A&E department needed to be expanded urgently.
“We have done this by building an extension which will deliver a much improved ‘majors’ department for the sickest A&E patients.”
Work on the new extension began in early April and was completed on April 29, with the unit opening to its first patients on Sunday.
Miss Brown added: “The new majors unit has freed up space in the old part of our A&E department.
“This has enabled us to provide into a new 10 bay emergency decisions unit in the area which was previously our majors area.
“The new emergency decisions unit focuses on enabling people to be discharged home as early as possible or – where necessary – admitted to a hospital ward for further specialist treatment.
“It is staffed by senior A&E doctors and nurses and ensures that only patients who really need specialist care are admitted to hospital.
“It will also enable us to assess and treat patients who don’t meet that threshold and enable them to receive appropriate assessment and care and then return home promptly.”
The new emergency decisions unit opened on May 2.
The walk-in patient entrance to the A&E department is now accessed via the main outpatients department entrance a few yards from the old entrance.
The old A&E entrance is now for ambulance access, with new signage in place.