One of the Trust’s major aims has been to further develop its emergency department and critical care facilities. I am delighted to say, this week we have taken a major step forward as our £13million business case to develop our Emergency Village and Critical Care Improvement plan was approved.
This is fantastic news for Blackpool Victoria Hospital, the Trust and everyone on the Fylde coast. The opening of the first phase of the Emergency Village in January has already given us a real boost in terms of safety, comfort and staff morale and that was just the beginning!
Now we can focus on the next stage which will be to upgrade existing facilities in the Emergency Department and create space to care for more people. It is a huge and significant step which, with the funding already granted, would amount to a £25million investment in health care on the Fylde coast.
It is great to see patients reaping the benefits of that development while staff in the Emergency Department are already making full use of those improvements to implement new ways of working and support a high number of patients who need emergency or critical care.
As well as improving the environment and facilities for emergency care we are also working on building a new Critical Care building behind the current Emergency Department and Urgent Care Centre. The existing High Dependency Unit and Intensive Care Units will then move to allow the Emergency Department to expand with greater space for patients and staff.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of modern, up to date critical care facilities for extremely ill patients, locally and nationally and this development is a massive step forward for population we serve.
The provision of mental health care facilities has also been a focused and important part of the overall plan. In conjunction with Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust we will be creating a Mental Health Urgent Assessment Centre. It will be up and running in the next few weeks and will enable the Mental Health Liaison Team to be on hand to offer support to people in crisis in a more suitable setting.
The impact of this plan to emergency and critical care cannot be underestimated. We’re ahead of schedule, allowing us to open up the first phase, which has supported environmental improvements and increased social distancing. I’ve no doubt that, when completely finished, it will deliver gold standard patient care in an enhanced environment which benefits both our patients and our staff.
We will work harder to ensure that the best possible journey, quality of care and outcomes for our patients are reached through the transformational changes this will bring. This sets the ball rolling for exciting milestones to be reached in the near future and I excitedly look forward to them.
My thanks go to our fantastic workforce who have supported the development, been instrumental in designing the facilities, and continued to provide care throughout the reconstruction. I am really looking forward to seeing the full development taking shape over the coming year.