Wexham Park Hospital’s emergency department (ED) will be moving into the new emergency assessment centre (EAC) at the front of the hospital site on Wednesday 3 April.
The relocation at the Slough hospital will bring all services within the £49m EAC fully online.
The new ED, which occupies the entire ground floor of the EAC, will begin accepting patients from early morning as the current ED undergoes a phased closure.
Members of the public are being asked to help minimise pressures on services making the transition by considering other treatment options, if appropriate, before attending.
This could include seeing a GP or pharmacist or calling NHS 111 for healthcare advice.
The ED’s move to the EAC, located near the main road entrance to Wexham Park Hospital, off Wexham Street, should be complete by the end of the day.
The new department has 30 single ‘majors’ rooms, giving seriously ill patients improved privacy, and eight resuscitation rooms for patients with life-threatening conditions. These contain specialist equipment to provide intensive treatment and support.
There are also 10 assessment rooms as well as separate areas for children and patients with less serious conditions.
Sean Harding, a senior nurse and the change manager for the EAC, said: “Preparations for the ED move have gone well and it will bring significant benefits for patients and staff. We can’t wait to get started.”
The ED move completes the occupation of the four-storey EAC, which brings A&E services, 24-hour assessments and short stay medical and surgical care together under one roof for the first time. This will increase collaboration between clinical teams so that patients can be assessed, diagnosed and treated better and faster, and many won’t have to be admitted to the main hospital at all.
The concept was developed by Frimley Health clinicians and designed entirely around modern patient needs, where more people are presenting with multiple, complex conditions.
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 for the night.
The short stay medical and surgical units opened on the EAC’s second floor 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 expected to be in hospital for up to 96 hours.
A range of 24-hour services opened on the first floor on 9 March, including an acute assessment unit (AAU) with 26 beds and eight assessment trolleys. This sits alongside the 20-cubicle ambulatory emergency care unit (AECU) where appropriate patients can be assessed, diagnosed and treated without being admitted overnight.
The third floor of the EAC houses staff areas.
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.
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.
Frimley Health has also recently started building work on a new £98m planned care hospital in Ascot. It is expected to be completed in 2021.