PART of the new £1.5M redevelopment of A and E at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary has now opened.
Work has been ongoing this year to build an extension to the department that will act as a Minor Injuries Unit and this has now been formally handed over to the Trust.
The new unit delivers additional capacity with five examination rooms, a waiting area, nurse base, clean utility and store.
More importantly, it has been designed to streamline the treatment of patients, meaning the parts of the department designed to specifically focus on major trauma patients can do so.
The next stage of the redevelopment is the refurbishment of the resuscitation area.
This will start on August 6 and will include new flooring, ceiling and decoration, an upgrade of electrical work and a change to the layout to provide larger bays.
Dr Paul Grout, Clinical Director for Acute & Emergency Medicine at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust said: “The first phase of this exciting development has gone really well and our Emergency Department teams are keen to take advantage of this new configuration and a modernised service for patients with minor injuries.
“There is no doubt that it will enable us to improve both service and care for our patients attending the department.
“We expect that up to 65% of patients attending the Emergency Department at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary will be streamed through the new Minor Injuries Unit.
“During the second stage of refurbishment which will take approximately six weeks to complete, resuscitation facilities will be temporarily deployed to the main area of the Emergency Department whilst minor injuries are treated in the new extension.
“We will continue to ensure that there is minimal impact on patients during this refurbishment work, and that emergency care is not compromised in any way.”
The new Minor Injuries Unit covers over 160 square metres and is directly accessed through the existing emergency department main entrance.
Once the upgrade of the resuscitation area is complete, the refurbishment of the waiting area will commence and this final stage of the Emergency Department development will be ready by the end of October 2012.
The Emergency Department at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary averages over 1,000 patient attendances per week.
Like many other NHS Trusts throughout the North West, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust sees many patients who do not need urgent medical attention as an emergency.
Dr Grout added: “The Trust continues to promote the national Choose Well campaign which reinforces the message that Emergency Departments and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions.”
There are a range of services which people can use for non emergencies, such as their local pharmacy or GP, NHS Direct and NHS Choices.
To find your local NHS service, go to www.northwest.nhs.uk and use the free service finder.