Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital is firmly on the road to recovery after a £2 million new extension to the A and E is up and running.
Doctors and nurses say the “much needed” unit will ease pressure on the Gayton Road site and save patients long waits for a free bed in a different department.
The new modular building provides eight beds for patients who need to be observed and assessed for up to 24 hours.
Hospital chiefs have spent approximately £2 million on the build. This money was allocated by West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group from the £3.9 million winter monies it received from the Government last year.
This investment is a boost for the hospital which has battled through a difficult period in which it was placed in special measures after damning reports from the Care Quality Commission and NHS England.
Consultant in emergency medicine Christopher Lloyd has welcomed the new unit.
He said: “This is a much needed addition to the hospital.
“Everyone knows about the four hour waiting targets but we know there are some patients who actually need a period of observation before assessment which may take longer.
“This unit can admit patients to a nice and quiet environment where they will be well looked after.
“We retain responsibility for those patients and not rely on the busy medical and surgical teams. They are not doing adding anything we can’t do and it allows them to deliver care to patients that need their specialisms while we look after the patients that don’t.”
Builders took 13 weeks to construct the two storey building on an inner courtyard in the hospital complex.
A total of 16 separate modules were craned over the main hospital building to create an additional 600m of space.
Offices take up the first floor while additional the additional treatment and observation rooms are on the ground floor.
The eight observation rooms, which are complete with en-suite facilities, are divided into two sections.
One side deals with acute issues where people are either discharged or admitted to a ward within four hours. This side has been running since Friday last week.
The other side allows medics to observe patients for up to 24 hours. This unit will look after patients with head injuries, mental health problems or elderly people who need to be admitted while additional care is sorted at home.
This unit is not yet operating while additional staff are being recruited but the plan is to have one trained nurse and health care assistant looking after patients during the day while one nurse will man the unit over night.
The A and E department currently has about 50 staff but this will increased to 70 with the recruitment of more nurses and health care assistants.
A and E consultant nurse Suzie Robinson Southey said the unit will offer a smoother journey for patients and prevent lengthy stays in hospital.
She said: “It’s great, we were nervous about it being an a modular building but visits to other hospitals gave us confidence.”