11:31AM, Friday 01 March 2019
A new £49m emergency assessment centre (EAC) at Wexham Park welcomed its first patients over the weekend.
The medical and surgical short stay units on the second floor of the building officially opened on Saturday, February 23.
They provide short periods of care for patients who are expected to be ready to be discharged within 72 hours, or up to 69 hours for surgical patients.
The EAC’s 24-hour assessment and treatment services are due to launch on the first floor of the building this month.
The building will be fully occupied on Wednesday, April 3 when a range of A&E services transfer to the building.
The idea behind bringing all of these disciplines under one roof is to increase collaboration between staff so patients, who often have multiple and complex conditions, get faster treatment.
One patient admitted to the 16-bed surgical short stay unit on Monday morning said they were put in a bed, seen to and ‘sorted out’ in a couple of hours.
Senior charge nurse Michele Pistillo said ‘amazing patient care’ resulted in one patient arriving at 10.30am on Sunday via A&E, before being assessed, having a small theatre procedure and going home at 4.30pm.
“The patients love the environment and the staff are so happy to work here,” she said.
In the 34-bed medical short stay unit, acute medicine consultant Bethan Graf said: “They love the views the building offers and they are impressed by how spacious and quiet it is.
“However, we know that although patients love the new unit, they would much rather be at home and our new way of working will help us to facilitate this.”
Developer Kier began building the EAC in April 2017 and handed it to Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust at the end of January.
The trust’s £49m investment, the biggest at Wexham Park since the hospital was built, is replacing the much older emergency department and other urgent care services.
New patient pathways have been designed to make care more efficient.
For example, patients may be brought directly to a ward via a GP without going to A&E or be given tests and medication during the day so they can return home without needing to be admitted to a ward.
The new centre follows a £10m upgrade to the hospital’s maternity and gynaecology services, which were officially opened in January 2018 by Strictly Come Dancing star Anton Du Beke.
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