New ward set for Princess Alexandra

Health / Thu 7th Nov 2013 at 02:53pm

THE Princess Alexandra Hospital is investing extra money it has received to cope with extra patient flows during winter on a new modular ward.

The hospital continually runs close to capacity and any surge in demand due to bad or extremely cold weather or winter illness leaves it struggling to find all the beds required.

A new modular ward is therefore going to be built close to the Accident and Emergency Department to provide 20 vital extra beds.

Preparation work is due to start on Monday and the hospital wants to get the ward open and operational as soon as possible and is aiming for before Christmas if at all possible.

The £2.8m investment in the new ward comes as the hospital has been improving performance continually over the last year. It is now rated one of the best in the East of England.

A new rating system just issued by the Care Quality Commission – the national hospital inspectors – places the Princess Alexandra in Band 5. The most “at risk” hospitals are in Bands 1 and 2 and the “ least risk” in Band 6. The only other hospital in Essex rated as high as Band 5 is Southend.

The ward has to be placed close to Accident and Emergency department, the hospital’s main “front door” and will therefore have to be erected on part of the existing main visitor car park. The hospital is providing extra and well signed alternative patient and visitor parking around the hospital site.

Parking for staff displaced from their normal parking areas to make way for visitors will include 60 extra places at the Linkway multi- storey car park. The number of disabled parking spaces on the hospital site will remain exactly the same.

Some spaces on the main visitor car park will be released back once initial construction work using a large crane is finished.

Trust Chief Executive, Melanie Walker, said, “It will be business as usual in the hospital throughout the construction period and this extra investment in bed availability will help us improve the care of all of our patients including those arriving for planned treatment and those requiring more urgent care.”

“ We tried to avoid using some of the busy visitor parking area but alternative locations did not work or failed to provide the additional number of beds we need.

“I would ask everyone to bear with us, particularly during the initial construction phase, and we will do all we can to minimise parking disruption.”

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