Expansion of Northampton General Hospital’s A&E department ‘is answer to issues’

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WORK to expand the accident and emergency department should significantly reduce the long-running over capacity problems, a Northampton General Hospital consultant has said.

During an exclusive tour around the new and in-progress areas of the department, the Chron was able to see recently-refurbished temporary rooms for the ‘minor’ walking wounded.

An area which is currently sealed off is still being worked on by builders but will house a revamped and expanded reception area, as well as the new permanent ‘minor’ cubicles, as part of the first expansion of A&E for 15 years.

Piers Massey, an A&E nurse consultant, said the measures were likely to help both staff and patients.

He said: “Come the spring, patients will see a difference.

“It will be lighter and more airy, and a better place to work and be treated, and the flow of patients through the department will be quicker.

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“But more importantly, there will be extra capacity and patients can be seen in a much more timely fashion.”

The new ‘walking wounded’ area – immediate to the left as patients go through the Cliftonville entrance – is temporary while the permanent rooms in the current building area are completed.

After that is completed, hopefully in the next couple of weeks, work on the ‘majors’ area – for the most serious, life-threatening injuries – will begin, turning what used to be, in some cases, simply a curtain drawn round a bed into a fully-equipped private room.

On the outside it may look like a lot of disruption in what is already the most chaotic area of any hospital.

But the result of the relatively short construction period – which Mr Massey admitted would probably not be the last – will be a net gain of three new ‘minors’ rooms and four new ‘majors’ rooms. And to go with the increased capacity will be more staff.

Mr Massey said: “We have advertised for all the positions we need; 10 nurses plus consultants and that should make a big difference.”

The unit is expected to be fully operational by April.