A £6.3m expansion of Warrington Hospital’s Emergency Department has started this month, significantly increasing patient assessment capacity.
The Trust will break ground on Friday 29th October 2021 and the six-month project will enable the hospital’s over-stretched Accident and Emergency service to more quickly see, treat, admit or discharge patients.
Warrington Hospital has been increasingly challenged to meet A&E demand over the past few years as the town has expanded rapidly putting significant strain on a service designed for 150 patients per day. Like other trusts around the country emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is real pressure on A&E services with Warrington’s ED regularly seeing in excess of 300 patients – double the capacity of the current estate.
Professor Simon Constable, Chief Executive, said: “Much of the delay in the Emergency Department occurs when staff run out of space to assess patients. Many patients presenting now are very unwell and take longer to assess and initiate treatment. As a result long waiting times are sadly no longer unusual. The Emergency Department and specialist teams delivers exceptional care despite the pressures and could do more, and more quickly, with more space. This expansion will be a real boost to our capacity to assess patients and move them on to the next diagnostic or care setting.”
The ground floor of the 1,170sqm extension faces on to Lovely Lane will be exclusively for patient care and will offer urgent ‘hot’ clinics, assessment areas, triage space, ambulatory care and primary care in the expanded and redesigned space. The second floor will be home to administration, equipment and staff rest areas which currently occupy valuable ground floor space in the existing emergency department. This space will now also be used for patients.
The expanded estate will also increase capacity to deliver acute care for patients in extreme health emergencies. In addition to the new clinical and assessment space enabling a range of pathways to care, the extension will have a ‘high care’ area for patients presenting with high-risk respiratory and other serious symptoms.
Dan Moore, Chief Operating Officer said: “Although the new space won’t be available until the Spring, robust winter planning coupled with the recent opening of a new 18-bed Enhanced Care Respiratory Unit, will support the Trust to manage through any further COVID-19 or ‘flu surges.
“The £6.3m investment supports an extension of the current ED footprint and which we believe is the best use of our aging estate within the available footprint. It will replace the temporary portacabin which currently houses our combined assessment unit and enable a partial reconfiguration of Appleton Wing to maximise the limited space available. This is consistent with the Trust’s commitment to make the best of its existing estate pending the development of a new hospital for the town and surrounding areas.
The project will be managed by the Trust’s own Estates team with the work carried out by Tilbury Douglas Construction, specialists in health care construction. The project will have a number of phases, with mitigations put in place to minimise disruption to patients, staff and the local community. Ambulance access to the site will not be affected.
Any disruption to patients, staff and the local community will be advised in advance via the Trust’s website and social media channels. The side entrance to the orthopaedics unit will be closed during construction but visiting patients and staff will be signposted to access the unit through the Burtonwood Wing Entrance.