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Hospital emergency department to be expanded as part of major revamp

An artist's impression of what the revamped Colchester Hospital will look like. Picture: East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

An artist's impression of what the revamped Colchester Hospital will look like. Picture: East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

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A hospital is to get a new entrance and an expanded emergency department as part a multi-million pound revamp.

Colchester Hospital’s plans will include a single storey extension at the emergency department to provide an urgent care centre, four more consulting rooms and a waiting area for patients’ relatives.

The front of the main building, which has largely stayed the same since the hospital opened in 1985, will change significantly with a two-storey extension to provide a new main entrance, along with a cafe and shops on the ground floor.

The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) said the changes, approved by Colchester Borough Council’s planning committee on Thursday, January 3, will bring major improvements for staff, patients and visitors alike.

The changes will also see the creation of a new bus turning loop, better toilet facilities and better pedestrian access.

An artist's impression of what the revamped Colchester Hospital will look like. Picture: East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust An artist's impression of what the revamped Colchester Hospital will look like. Picture: East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Nick Hulme, chief executive of ESNEFT, said: “We want to transform the patient and visitor experience of our services in many ways, and this scheme is part of delivering that vision.

“The entrance and reception areas are frequently our patients’ first impression of the hospital, and it shapes their whole experience of coming to hospital at what for many is a stressful and anxious time.

“By increasing the space and improving the facilities in this area we aim to create a calming, safe and reassuring comfortable environment.

“The new main entrance development is an important element of our overall long-term vision, which provides us the opportunity to renew a sense of pride in the hospital as we work to ensure we offer our patients the high standards of care and high quality facilities we would choose for our own families.”

Nick Chatten, acting director of estates and facilities at ESNEFT, said the hospital’s existing spaces are in need of an overhaul.

“The patient drop-off area is narrow and congested with pedestrians having to share space with vehicles, including day ambulances, buses and taxis,” he said.

“The existing reception foyer is particularly cramped, with there being no suitable seating/waiting area, especially for the elderly, infirm and those waiting to be picked up.

“Elsewhere in the hospital, the staff and visitor restaurant, whilst having a sufficient product range and seating space, is located remotely on the first floor and is too far from the main outpatient areas to be easily accessible to those waiting for appointments.

“The overall scheme will herald the transformation projects planned for the future of ESNEFT.”

It has not yet been revealed which shops will occupy the new retail units.

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