The £450,000 four-month programme will enable the hospital to put in an improved private waiting area for children along with additional consulting and treatment rooms.
It is an interim measure aimed at improving the A&E department’s capacity and durability in advance of the trust’s multi-million pound plans to develop a brand new Urgent Care Hub on the site by 2022, as we reported on this morning.
Kettering General Hospital’s lead nurse for urgent and emergency care, David Anderson, said: “When our A&E department first opened in 1993 it saw about 40,000 patients per year.
“That has now more than doubled to 87,500 patients in 2017-18 and it is expected there will continued significant population growth in Northamptonshire over the next few years.
“Even though we added an expanded A&E majors unit in May 2016 the department remains very cramped and we are often still very short of space at busy times.
“This has a significant impact on how we work and can sometimes contribute to longer waits for patients in less than ideal conditions.
“The planned refurbishment should help us to improve our facilities in the short-term as best we can within the limited space currently available to us.
“Our main emphasis is on improved privacy and dignity and a better waiting and treatment environments for our patients.”
Work began yesterday (April 9) and will continue into July.
It has been divided into five sections, so some aspects of the refurbishment will be completed before July.
The work includes:
- Two new treatment bays, which can also be used as space for seating four patients, to help improve flow from ambulances into the trust’s A&E majors unit and to discharge. This involves the conversion of an existing store and doctor’s office.
- Two new consulting rooms. This will involve the conversion of two outpatient offices into A&E consulting rooms. This boosts the number of A&E consulting rooms from 10 to 12.
- A new enclosed paediatric waiting area to be built within the existing waiting area for A&E and the fracture clinic. This will be fully enclosed and will help improve the waiting environment for children and their parents who have previously had to wait in mixed waiting areas.
- A refurbished A&E reception area. The current area will be moved back and remodelled with a glassed in area to give more privacy for new arrivals and a layout which gives improved views for clinical staff of patients in the waiting area.
- Improving a staff rest area by adding in kitchen facilities so that staff are able to have better quality breaks during the working day.
- Refurbishing a quiet room to improve the environment in a room used for sensitive conversations, sometimes with bereaved families.
Director of strategy and transformation, Polly Grimmett, said: “We very much hope the refurbishment will go some way towards improving the patient experience in our A&E department in the short term.
“We apologise for any inconvenience for patients and staff which may arise during the worksthemselves.
“In the long term we are planning for a much bigger and more exciting way of delivering urgent care to local people through our proposed multi-million pound Urgent Care Hub.
“The outline business case for this scheme was submitted to NHS Improvement in February and we expect to answer questions and provide further information about it this month.
“If the case is approved we would then develop a full business case and hope to progress to construction in 2019 and opening in 2022.”