A multi-million pound Urgent and Emergency Care Centre (UECC) will receive its first patients next month, proud Walsall Healthcare chiefs have announced.
The two-storey c£40m development, being delivered by Tilbury Douglas, will significantly improve emergency care facilities and capacity – providing almost 5,000 square metres of additional clinical space.
The Emergency Department will be the first to make its move overnight on 1 March, followed by the Acute Medical Unit during the day on 9 March.
On Wednesday 26 April, the Paediatric Assessment Unit will move into its new home. Imaging services will also start moving in from March.
Months of preparation have gone into making the transition of staff, patients and new equipment as smooth as possible. And extra teams will be on hand on moving days as well as volunteers, floor walkers and health and wellbeing staff to give support where needed.
Will Roberts, Director of Operations and Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said there was real excitement across the organisation.
“All of us who have been involved in this massive project have been counting down the months, weeks and now days until we can finally move into this fantastic new environment,” he said.
“This is the most substantial investment our Trust has ever seen and we can’t wait to start delivering our services from this much improved environment that will help us to provide the first class healthcare provision that our patients and families deserve.”
Liz Slevin, ED and Acute Care Transformational Lead Nurse at the Trust added: “It’s all systems go now for moving in day!
“We have been running an intense programme of familiarisation and training for all the staff involved as well as holding engagement sessions for them to ask questions, raise any concerns or queries and make suggestions. This is such an exciting time for urgent and emergency care and I know our patients are going to be as impressed with the new centre as we are.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in the project – including Tilbury Douglas who have really become part of our team as we’ve worked together to achieve this significant milestone.”
Debbie White, Interim Deputy Divisional Director (Division of Medicine) and Senior Project Manager for The Urgent and Emergency Care Centre Capital Build, highlighted the work that has taken place with the wider community on the new build.
She said: “We have invited a range of focus groups and Healthwatch members to come and visit the new UECC next week prior to the first move and are looking forward to showing them our new centre and demonstrating how their views have been taken on board where possible. Community engagement has been vital to the success of this project and we thank them for their valuable contributions.”
The new UECC includes an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC), Emergency Department (ED) including Resus and Rapid Assessment and Treatment (RAT) area, and Children’s ED, co-located Paediatric Assessment Unit, Acute Medical Unit and provision for Ambulatory Emergency Care services in a future phase.
It also includes re-configuration of the current Emergency Department footprint, to incorporate improved Ambulatory Emergency Care and Imaging services.
Various specialist facilities are located throughout, such as an isolation room for infectious patients, bariatric provision and digital x-ray rooms. All areas have been designed specifically to enhance clinical staff efficiency, provide improved quality of care, improved patient experience, and a much improved working environment for staff.
Simon Butler, Managing Director Building Central at Tilbury Douglas, said: “It is great to see the completion of the new high-quality, modern development, that will assist Walsall Healthcare in improving the patient experience and allowing for greater flexibility for the future.”