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.
“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.