Work will now start on the main phase of the £40m development, at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, following the completion of enabling works at the site. This will see major improvements to the emergency care facilities and capacity, on what is regarded as an outdated building.
This will include a new Urgent Treatment Centre; Emergency Department (ED); a Resus and Rapid Assessment and Treatment area; Children’s ED; a co-located Paediatric Assessment Unit, and Acute Medical Unit. The ED’s footprint will also change to integrate improved ambulatory emergency care and imaging services.
There will also be a multitude of specialist facilities such as an isolation room for patients with infections, bariatric provision, and digital x-ray rooms. This has all been designed in order to improve efficiency for clinical staff, quality of care, and overall patient experience, as well as improving the working environment.
Russell Caldicott, Executive Director of Finance & Performance, and Walsall Healthcare’s Senior Responsible Officer for the development, said: “This is fantastic news for patients, staff and visitors. It builds further upon the multi-million-pound developments for Integrated Critical Care and the Neonatal Unit, giving the trust the estates infrastructure to cope with future healthcare demands.
“As a local resident, I am delighted that we have been able to secure support from national and local system colleagues for this substantial investment into Urgent and Emergency Care at Walsall.”
There is thought to be an increase in yearly ED attendances, with more than 10,000 patients expected when the Midland Metropolitan Hospital opens in 2022. The existing building adjacent to the existing Emergency Department will also be reconfigured and refurbished to deliver the additional support space that will be needed.
Ned Hobbs, Walsall Healthcare’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “A five-month programme of enabling work has now been completed during which time we’ve seen the widening of the blue light route for ambulances, as well as mine workings carried out and the installation of more than 460 piles to support the steel frame.
“The new ambulance parking area outside the old Emergency Department entrance has also been completed.
“So much has already been achieved, but when the main phase gets underway that is when the whole project will suddenly seem much more for those of us who are watching its progress with such excitement. In just over a year’s time, we will have a fantastic new addition to Walsall Manor Hospital that will provide a massive improvement to our healthcare services.”