Click on the photo to watch our short video on the Emergency Department extension build
The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has invested in an extension to its emergency department. This will help the Trust meet rising demand over the winter and improve patient care.
The new temporary extension, opened today, (Monday 21 November), forms part of the plans to support new ways of working, ahead of winter. It will help ease pressure on the existing emergency department and enable new ways of working.
The new £623,000 facility, funded by the Trust, provides eight additional cubicles where patients brought to the emergency department by ambulance, will be seen. Patients will be assessed before being transferred to the most appropriate area for the continuation of their care.
Installation started in mid-October with the ground works for the installation finishing to plan. The last stages of installing medical and IT equipment was completed and tested last week to ensure the unit was set to go live. Patients arriving by other means continue to use the main emergency department entrance.
Winter planning also sees the Trust investing in and implementing new ways of working, to continue to improve patient care. The Board is planning longer term solutions for emergency care at the RBH to ensure people are discharged more efficiently into the community, once a consultant has said they are ready to leave.
These include expanding the Trust’s ‘home early, settled and safe’ programme where patients who are fit and ready to go home are taken to a comfortable discharge lounge to wait for medications and transport. This frees up an acute bed earlier in the day for sick patients waiting to be admitted to a ward.
The ED was last expanded and refurbished in 2002. It was designed to deal with 65,000 attendances a year. In 2015/16, the department saw 103,722 attendances, and in the six months from April to September 2016 has already seen 54,411 attendances. This rise in numbers has a significant impact on the patient experience. The RBFT’s investment in the new unit will help alleviate the immediate pressures.
Acting Chief Executive, Mary Sherry, has welcomed the investment, saying: “Many hospitals are struggling to meet the 4 hour wait. Despite this, the RBH remains amongst the top 25% of hospitals for emergency performance. Over nine in ten patients are seen in under four hours.”
“Doing nothing was not an option,” she added, “and so the Trust has invested in the ED extension.
“We anticipate the unit will be in place for two to three years. It is not a final solution, but using these extra eight beds over this winter will greatly improve the care and experience we are able to give our patients, right now.
“We are working closely with social care partners and clinical commissioning groups to ensure that our patients continue to get great care at the Royal Berks.”