More patients will be cared for inside Wexham Park Hospital’s £49m new emergency centre from Saturday 9 March as further services come online.
The acute assessment unit (AAU) for patients who are expected to be ready to go home within 24 hours is one of the services opening.
With space for 26 beds and eight assessment trolleys, it will be located on the first floor of the state-of-the-art four-storey building.
It will sit alongside a new 20-cubicle ambulatory emergency care unit (AECU) where appropriate patients can be assessed, diagnosed and treated without being admitted overnight.
The openings follow the unveiling of the EAC’s short stay medical and surgical units on the second floor, which welcomed the first patients into the building on 23 February. The 34-bed medical unit cares for patients who are likely to be ready to go home within 72 hours, while patients on the 16-bed surgical unit may be in hospital for up to 96 hours.
The final phase of the EAC opening takes place on 3 April when the new emergency department goes live on the ground floor.
The top floor of the building already houses equipment and administration areas.
Ambulatory emergency care matron Sean Harding, who is also change manager for the EAC, said: “The rollout of services at the EAC is progressing smoothly. Our patients love the bright, modern rooms and our staff are finding it a superb environment to work in and provide quality joined-up care.”
Developer Kier began construction work on the EAC in April 2017 and the building was officially handed to Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust at the end of January this year.
It is an urgent care building that includes a range of A&E services, 24-hour assessments and short stay medical and surgical care. For the first time, these disciplines will be under one roof, increasing collaboration between doctors, nurses and clinical teams.
The concept was developed by Frimley Health clinicians and designed entirely around modern patient needs, where more people are presenting with multiple, complex conditions. These often require a multidisciplinary approach, so the new design will help to diagnose and treat patients better and faster.
New patient pathways have been developed to make care more efficient and allow patients to be cared for more quickly in the right place. For example, patients may be brought directly to assessment areas via a GP without going to A&E or be given necessary tests and medication during the day so they can safely return home without needing to be admitted to a ward.
The EAC is the second major construction project at Wexham Park following a £10m upgrade to maternity and gynaecology services which opened in January 2018.