A brand new unit at Worcestershire Royal Hospital welcomed its first patients yesterday.
The Acute Medical Unit (AMU) – located on the first floor of the Worcestershire Oncology Centre – is one of a series of developments aimed at easing some of the ongoing pressure on urgent and emergency care services.
The new 29-bed unit, funded by an extra £8 million of capital funding from NHS England (NHSE), will create additional capacity and allow patients referred by their GP to be admitted directly to the ward, helping to reduce delays and congestion in the Emergency Department (ED), free up space and help improve ambulance handover times.
Welcoming the news, Worcester MP Robin Walker said:
"Improving healthcare facilities for Worcester has been my priority since being elected. I am glad to see that these investments are now making a practical difference to patients at the Worcester Royal."
Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “With continuing high levels of pressure on our urgent and emergency care services, it’s important that our teams– actively supported by colleagues from across our local health and care system – work together to make the best possible use of all the services that are available to us.
“The AMU is the first part of a series of developments aimed at creating extra capacity, delivering a better patient experience and easing some of the pressure on our teams, but this is a challenge that will take a whole Trust and whole system approach to tackle.
“Getting our new AMU open has taken a huge amount of effort. Special thanks go to the project team, particularly given the speed with which we had to get the build completed and additional technical problems that had to be overcome, and to our clinical teams and all the teams who support them who managed to move as planned.”
The next phase of the continuing efforts to improve patient flow, reduce waiting times and manage ambulance handovers in a more timely way is the creation of a 21-bed Pathway Discharge Unit (PDU) later this month.
The PDU nursing team will care for patients who have been identified as ready to be discharged from hospital with additional support, and ensure that they are able to leave in the most timely way possible, helping to maintain safe and effective patient flow, free up beds in wards and further ease pressure on urgent and emergency care services.
Work is also continuing on a new expanded and relocated urgent and emergency care centre which will fully open at the hospital next year.