New A&E unit heralds Frimley Park redevelopmentBy James Chapple
July 11, 2012
FRIMLEY Park Hospital has unveiled a £22m redevelopment including a new emergency department, day surgery and helipad, which chief executive Andrew Morris believes will bring its standard of emergency care into the 21st century.
"The new facilities are just fantastic, especially from the patients' point of view," said Mr Morris,
"We're going to have 14 consultants working across the department 20 hours a day throughout the week, so a consultant will almost always be on hand to take decisive action ensuring patients are in the right place seeing the right people at the right time."
The new facilities were being used for the first time on Wednesday (July 11).
The project began in late 2010 and as a foundation trust, Frimley Park has been able to fund the development - its biggest capital project since the hospital was built in 1974 - entirely from efficiency savings without resorting to loans or partnerships with the private sector.
Clinical director Prem Premachandran explained how important the development would be for both patients and medical staff.
He said: "We treat some 100,000 patients every year, that's 25,000 more than the hospital was originally designed to accommodate.
"But despite a significant increase in the number of major patients coming in, up 8.6% between 2009 and 2011, we're still meeting our target of seeing all patients within four hours 95% of the time.
"The fact is [that] patient expectations have gone up and we have had to react to that.
"We now have one of the biggest resuscitation areas in Europe. There are also 25 major incident rooms fully equipped with monitors, computers and IV lines offering greater space and privacy.
"Everything is now in one place and 80% of patients can be treated there and then, reducing risks which come as a result of admission such as infection."
Modelled on US-style emergency departments such as in Boston, the new unit is build around a central nursing station which can monitor each patient in each room independently.
Meanwhile, the day surgery capacity will be almost doubled allowing up to 40 more cases to be dealt with every day, while special rooms have been designed for psychiatric, bariatric and dementia patients.
Project director Janet King explained the developments would be rolled out in a series of phases.
"We're moving onto opening the new A&E now before the old one is gutted and refurbished," she said.
"It was a big, bold decision by the trust but absolutely the right one. We simply couldn't ask for more than what we have now. It's absolutely fantastic, the quality looks exceptional."
The hospital has looked at ways to streamline its flow of patients and introduced 'point of care' testing, allowing blood tests to be performed on the spot rather than having to be sent to a laboratory.
Medical director Ed Palfrey added that the department was equipped for the present and future.
He said: "We now have the facilities required to respond to the clinical needs of our patients.
"It's taken taken significant efficiency savings within the trust to make this possible and I'm very proud of everyone. We have a fantastic workforce who can really puff out their chests - they always do their best in difficult circumstances."
With the project on time and to budget, a delighted Peter Northmore, lead consultant for the design team, praised the decision to keep the hospital where it was and Mr Morris's insistence on securing the helipad.
He said: "Emergency patients come in straight off the roof and are delivered immediately to the medical teams.
"It was the right decision to keep it central and the helipad will be crucial given the amount of road traffic collisions the department deals with."
All three developments are likely to be fully operational by the beginning of next year, with the new emergency department opening on Wednesday.
The trust is now urging people to join its 10,000-strong membership which entitles everyone in the hospital's catchment area to attend regular meetings between the trust and its public and receive a free newsletter.