HEALTH chiefs have revealed that a ward dedicated to helping frail and elderly patients will now form part of a new £1m Queen’s Hospital - after fears were raised that it was set to be axed.
Bosses at the Belvedere Road site explained that the frail elderly ward has been absorbed into its new acute assessment centre that was officially opened earlier this week.
This comes after patients and staff expressed concerns that the ward was set to be closed permanently.
James Crampton, clinical director for emergency and acute medicine, said: “The frail elderly area was a stand-alone, eight-bedded area specifically for frail elderly patients.
“This is now an integral part of the acute assessment centre and short-stay ward and as such, will enable more frail elderly patients to be cared for from arrival and throughout their hospital stay.
“This has been developed in conjunction with the elderly care and emergency care teams to ensure our patients receive the same standard of quality care.”
There is some additional work planned to upgrade the former frail elderly area to ensure it is the same standard throughout the new centre.
While this work is taking place, patients will be nursed in other areas appropriate to their care.
The ward will form of the new assessment centre that was officially opened on Wednesday by chief executive Helen Ashley.
The centre 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.
Stuart Logan, emergency care nurse manager, said: “We are trying to make sure we can schedule what we could not before. We can’t control the 999 visits, but we can schedule the referral process. It will make the process a lot more smooth.
“For many people coming to the hospital it’s a frightening time, and we want to try to alleviate that.”