A NEW £1 million acute assessment centre will open at Queen’s Hospital next week as part of a renewed effort to drastically ease pressure on the accident and emergency department.
The centre at the Belvedere Road site will operate 24 hours a day seven days a week and provide a dedicated area for the urgent assessment, observation, diagnosis and treatment of patients.
The new unit comes just weeks after the hospital was placed into ‘special measures’ after major gaps in quality of care were found following a Government review.
A spokesman told the Mail: “The key difference with this system is that the emergency care patients referred by GPs or community services will be scheduled to attend via an appointment made through a Single Point of Access (SPA) telephone number.
“On scheduling a booking, the GP will talk to a senior clinical practitioner handling the SPA and be given a specific time for the patient to attend.
“The centre will also take speciality referrals from the emergency department with on-call doctors to assess and treat patients.”
In addition, an ambulatory emergency care service will be provided seven days per week between the hours of 10am to 6pm.
This will be run by experienced GPs who will assess, treat and manage patients with specific conditions suitable for ambulatory emergency care.
The new centre is also setting out to prevent avoidable hospital admissions and comes at a time when the accident and emergency department at Stafford Hospital remains closed, sending more patients to Burton for treatment.
The centre will have 20 trolley bays, eight single bed rooms, clinical waiting area, triage and clinic rooms for initial assessments and diagnostics.
A spokesman added: “The new system will release pressure in the emergency department, whose staff will also be able to make referrals.
“Other services, such as pathology and X-ray, have been aligned to the new centre’s operating requirements to ensure test results are available and decisions on whether to admit patients to ward areas can be taken in a timely and appropriate way.”
The centre will open to patients on Wednesday, August 28.