Our staff are today celebrating after news came through that Plymouth has been awarded £30 million to build a new Urgent and Emergency Care Hub.
A further £12million is being invested in new diagnostic scanners and digital histopathology across Devon and Cornwall.
The bulk of the money will be used to build a state-of-the art integrated facility, replacing the existing Emergency Department at Derriford Hospital.
Our existing Emergency Department was built in the late 1970s, with cubicles to treat 120 patients per day.
Over the last 40 years, with a growing and ageing population, demand for emergency care has increased considerably and the physical space required has changed dramatically. As a Major Trauma Centre and specialist hospital, we require more space, people and technology within the department to deliver care to the critically ill and injured. This means our existing facilities are no longer big enough.
Although some improvements have been made since 1970, our staff regularly see and care for 300+ people per day in a unit that can quickly become cramped and overcrowded.
The new Urgent and Emergency Care Hub will have dedicated areas for children, for patients with frailty, ambulatory care – patients who need urgent care but do not necessarily need to be admitted – and a dedicated area that offers privacy and dignity for ambulances to drop patients off.
Consultant Anne Hicks said: “We’re over the moon. What this will give us is space to care. That’s really important in being able to offer people the highest standard of care in an environment that gives them privacy and dignity. As a major trauma centre, we will have state-of-the-art resuscitation facilities; a purpose-built frailty unit with rapid early specialist medical and social assessment and intervention. This will help avoid admitting older people, helping them get back home quickly with the right support care in place.”
Chief Executive Ann James: “A massive thank you to our partners in the health and care service, in our local authorities and to our local MPs who have supported us with these bids – we couldn’t have done it without you. The bid for a new Emergency Department has been a long time in development and many people have worked really hard behind the scenes to make it happen. It has been a real team effort on behalf of the whole local health and care community and we’re thrilled. This new hub will allow us to meet the increasing health and care needs of people who use our urgent and emergency services from Plymouth and beyond.”
Building work is expected to start in 2020.
Meanwhile, short-term improvement works to the existing children’s zone and resuscitation area continue. These works are allowing us to expand existing areas and alleviate pressure until we can build the new Urgent and Emergency Care Hub.
There is also good news for patients in need of diagnostic imaging tests in the future, with staff in Derriford Hospital and Northern Devon District Hospital also celebrating after their joint bid for diagnostic scanners was successful. The £9m investment will see two new 3Tesla MRI scanners installed in Plymouth and another CT scanner installed at Northern Devon District Hospital. This will help staff meet growing demand for scans using some of the best technology available.
A further £3.5 million is being invested in the digitisation of histopathology services to support service sustainability and transformation across the south west peninsula. By digitising the slides that pathologists normally view through a microscope, efficiency and productivity will be improved.
It means the four hospitals in Devon – in Plymouth, Exeter, Torbay and Northern Devon – and Cornwall will be able to support each other by remotely reporting some of their slides. Across the peninsula, staff will be able to share capacity for urgent, specialist and routine work more effectively.
Cllr Tudor Evans OBE, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “This is terrific news for our local NHS and for Derriford Hospital. This is an important investment for local people and for those who use these services from across Devon and Cornwall.
“I would like to acknowledge the campaigning on behalf of the hospital by the council and by our local MPs on a cross-party basis to win this much needed investment.”