After an investment of almost £8million, the Royal Surrey County Hospital’s new Emergency Department has been officially opened.

Guildford MP the Rt. Hon. Anne Milton, a former nurse,  (pictured) joined staff from Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust to tour the new facilities and celebrate the conclusion of the ambitious two-year project to remodel and revamp the busy department.

The Emergency Department treated 81,900 patients last year. The development took place over an 18-month period and in planned sections so that patients could continue to be treated in a safe and clean environment throughout the build.

The work has created a state-of-the-art environment for both patients and staff, including remodelling the areas that treat the sickest patients. The Trust has increased cubicle space, improving how the team care for patients brought to hospital by ambulance and allowing greater privacy and dignity.

The work has also meant the creation of new Fit 2 Sit areas for patients who do not require a bed for treatment, and there is a new Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU) for those patients whose assessment and treatment with the Emergency Medicine team may take a little longer.

The existing Ambulatory Emergency Care (AEC) unit has also been expanded and improved. The AEC is where emergency cases are diagnosed and treated on the same day, with patients discharged with an ongoing clinical support and supervision care plan.

The build has also taken account our younger patients, with a bigger and brighter Paediatric Department and new dedicated Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit.

Dr Lori Anderson, Emergency Medicine Consultant, who spearheaded the build, said: “We recognised that our emergency department wasn’t big enough to meet demand and that this was impacting on the experience our patients had when in our care.

“We’ve extended the waiting room and designed the Majors area to include more treatment cubicles with greater privacy. We’ve also expanded and improved the Paediatrics area, added a new dedicated Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit and invested in an Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit.

“The Ambulatory Emergency Care unit has its own entrance, so patients can avoid the Emergency Department completely where they can be assessed and usually discharged without an overnight admission. This helps us to protect the beds for those who really need them, prevents delays in care and it means more people can go home to their own bed at night.”

However, Dr Anderson also provided this health warning: “Although we’re delighted to have this fantastic new unit, we do ask the public to use it appropriately. We’re heading into our busiest time of year so if you are unsure whether your condition is an emergency or where to get the care you need, please call NHS 111 and keep the Emergency Department free for those who really need it.”