£28m expansion for hospital

By David LennardA PLAN has been announced to expand the facilities at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston as part of a £28million investment in the site.

By David Lennard

A PLAN has been announced to expand the facilities at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston as part of a £28million investment in the site.

The hospital serves a large population in north Suffolk and south-east Norfolk and has been awarded a top three-star rating by Government health inspectors.

Over the past two years a new building has been constructed on the north side of the hospital site, housing a day case ward, an outpatient and minor operating suite and a new theatre of eye surgery.

The expansion of the hospital is set to continue over the next to three years with more buildings added to the site.

The next phase will see an operating theatre for day cases, another outpatient suite and a 34-bed ward for short-stay surgery built.

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David Hill, the hospital's chief executive, said: “The new diagnostic and treatment centre will give us the opportunity to offer patients a choice for their first appointment.

“They will be seen by the doctor, have tests carried out, be assessed for the appropriate procedure and be given a date for this to be carried out.

“In some instances it may be possible for the treatment to be undertaken there and then - in effect, a one-stop shop.”

The expansion is not the only way of improving services for residents that is being planned by the James Paget Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital.

For some time the hospital has been under enormous pressure with insufficient beds for the number of emergencies it has to deal with.

The trust plans to create an emergency assessment and discharge unit next to the accident and emergency department.

That will eliminate the wait for beds as a patient will be admitted to the unit, diagnostic tests will be carried out, the assessment about need for full admission or further treatment made and discharge planned.

It will streamline the assessment and care offered to patients as a dedicated team of staff trained to deal with emergency medicine will attend to them.

Alongside these major developments the trust is continuing to upgrade the existing wards, enhance the information technology and electronic systems and refurbish other departments.

Altogether, it is anticipated an investment of about £28m will be made over the next four to five years.

n The general meeting to present the annual report and accounts for 2002/2003 is being held in the Boardroom at the James Paget Hospital on September 15, starting at 7pm.

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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