Welcoming the new funding, Director of Operations at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Berenice Groves, said the cash would support work being done to create an Emergency Village and new Critical Care programme to develop a world class service for patients across the Fylde coast.
“This money will support us in bringing forward elements of the Emergency Village development, allowing us to create more space and a new clinical area to improve patient experience,” explained Berenice.
Work can now begin on creating a minor injury unit which will free up more cubical space in the main Emergency Department. This will involve some restructuring and building work in the hospital’s A&E department and Urgent Care Unit and it is hoped this project will be completed by Christmas.
“As we get ready for winter we need to ensure patients feel confident about accessing health care and this means ensuring patients receive appropriate help in a safe and suitable setting.
“To help alleviate some of the pressures on our A&E services, Blackpool will become one of the first areas in the North West to roll out the new nation-wide NHS111 First system which will allow patients to be given appointment times for health care ensuring they are seen and treated quickly and appropriately in the most suitable setting.
“If patients are directed to our Emergency Department this funding will allow us to ensure strict social distancing measures by increasing the waiting area and ensuring more space to accommodate patient care.”
Work on the planned £13m Emergency Village was earmarked to start in 2023, but this funding will allow the Trust to bring the start date forward to help with winter pressures and expand waiting areas and increase the number of treatment cubicles to reduce overcrowding and improve infection control measures.
“For us to offer first-class health services, it is vital patients help us by accessing health care in the most appropriate way,” Berenice added.
“Our A&E department must be kept free for emergency treatment only so that we can provide the best possible care. With strict social distancing measures in place health care will be more challenging and we ask the community to use the NHS111 system to ensure they are directed to the right service for their needs.”
Kevin McGee, Chief Executive of the Trust said: “Throughout the pandemic, the NHS has been here for you and emergency departments have remained open. If you do have to go to hospital, please be assured that it is as safe as possible – NHS staff are following strict social distancing and hygiene measures to allow people to access care safely. Please do not hesitate to access emergency treatment if you need it.
“Winter is always a busy time, and with the added pressures of COVID-19, this funding will help us to continue to deliver safe and quality care in this new normal and meet the future needs of people in our area.”
The cash allocated to Blackpool Teaching Hospitals is part of a share of £300 million allocated across the country to upgrade facilities ahead of winter.
You can follow the progress of the Emergency Village and Critical Care development on this web page plus Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BTHEmergencyVillage and Twitter: @BTH_E_Village.