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New £4.5million hospital unit to help ease pressure on A&E

PUBLISHED: 18:48 14 August 2018 | UPDATED: 18:52 14 August 2018

New AAU staff seen receiving advanced life support skills training Picture: West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

New AAU staff seen receiving advanced life support skills training Picture: West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

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West-Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WFST) hopes that the construction of a new hospital unit will help to ease pressure on emergency services.

A digital impression of the new ambulatory emergency care ward which will be part of the new AAU Picture: West Suffolk NHS Foundation TrustA digital impression of the new ambulatory emergency care ward which will be part of the new AAU Picture: West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

A new £4.5million unit is to be built at a hospital to help ease pressure on its busy emergency department.

West Suffolk Hospital has seen rising demand at its accident and emergency department over the winter.

To help alleviate the pressure on A&E, a state-of-the-art Acute Assessment Unit (AAU) will be built to help some of the 6,000 people who use the emergency department every month.

The AAU model is designed to support emergency patients who do not need major emergency care but require some observation, diagnosis and treatment. It will also look to assess patients quickly and treat them on the same day so that they can return home.

Those patients who still require ongoing hospital care after an assessment can then be transferred to the correct specialist ward.

The (AAU) will be built behind the Bury St Edmunds hospital’s emergency department and is set to open under a phased plan in December, before opening fully next summer.

Chief operating officer Helen Beck said: “This unit is a fantastic development for our trust and will help to ensure that our patients get the right care they need first time.

“People will have quicker access to specialists when they need them and be able to get the diagnosis and treatment they need to go home rather than stay in hospital.”

Patients should receive a quicker diagnosis and treatment at the unit than in the traditional emergency department set-up and will be attended by a multi-disciplinary team, who all have quick and easy access to other services.

Debs Crelly, WFST senior operations manager, said: “The unit will be a busy one and will treat patients with a huge range of conditions and illnesses, who all have different needs.

“Each day will be different and the staff within the unit will need a variety of clinical skills to make sure we’re supporting each patient.

“This new unit will modernise the way that the trust cares for its emergency patients.

“It’s a hugely exciting opportunity.”

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