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Plans to build a new emergency department (ED) and assessment centre at Wexham Park Hospital have won the backing of local planners.

Slough Borough Council’s development control committee unanimously approved Frimley Health FT’s plans at its latest meeting (7 December 2016).

It means patients in Slough and surrounding areas are a step closer to a new £49m building incorporating a number of emergency care and assessment wards.

The four storey building will have a state of the art A&E on the ground floor including 36 fully equipped separate rooms for the sickest patients, minor injuries and children’s A&E.

The first floor will incorporate a ward where patients can be discharged or further assessed for up to 24 hours and the second floor will treat and assess patients for up to three days. The top floor has offices and staff areas.

This efficient design will help treat the 120,000 people attending Wexham Park’s A&E each year more effectively in better surroundings.

The Department of Health would need to fund most of the cost of the new building. It is expected to reach a decision on funding in March 2017 once it has examined the trust’s detailed business case.

Dr Prem Premachandran, Frimley Health chief of service for emergency care, said: “We are very grateful to the support we have had from planning officers and councillors.

“Assuming the trust gains approval for funding from the Department of Health early next year then we will be able to begin building in April.

“We are very excited that by 2019 people in our community will have the fantastic 21st century emergency services that they deserve.”

Once it opens in early 2019 the current ED will transfer to the new building. The vacated space will allow the hospital to upgrade and relocate a number of wards over the following few years to consolidate services and improve the environment for patients.