The business case for plans for major urgent and emergency care improvements at both Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals was approved at the ESNEFT Trust Board today. The business case is the first workstream in a £69.3m programme and will see the building of the new urgent treatment centre (UTC) and emergency department (ED) at Ipswich Hospital, as well as major developments to emergency care at Colchester Hospital that follow on from the work to create the UTC in 2019.
The proposals will transform and simplify urgent and emergency care by providing a single front door which all patients will use before they are triaged and directed to the best place to meet their needs. This will improve people’s experience by making sure they are seen by the right team first time while also reducing the amount of time they need to wait for treatment.
The full business case will now be sent to NHSE/I for final approval before work can begin.
Improvements at Ipswich Hospital
At Ipswich Hospital, £35m will be spent developing a new urgent treatment centre (UTC). This will be co-located alongside a new emergency department (ED) in the area currently occupied by trauma and orthopaedics and the fracture clinic. The UTC will provide a single front door which all urgent and emergency patients will use before they are triaged by clinical staff and directed to either the UTC or ED, depending on which service will best meet their needs.
It is hoped the UTC will ease pressure on the ED by catering for an estimated 50,000 patients who arrive at the emergency department each year with conditions which could be safely managed elsewhere, such as sprains, fever and vomiting. This will free up staff in the ED to focus on providing care for the most critically ill and seriously injured patients.
In addition to the new UTC and ED:
- A new main entrance to the hospital will be created by relocating some outpatient clinics and the Trust’s corporate governance team offices.
- The trauma and orthopaedics service and fracture clinic will relocate to the space currently housing ED in the Garrett Anderson Centre.
- The surgical admissions unit (SAU) will relocate to Sproughton Ward so that it is next to the acute medical same day emergency care (AMSDEC) unit, was built last autumn. This will provide more flexibility while making it easier to transfer patients between the two units.
- Diagnostic imaging services will be improved with the addition of a CT scanner in the new UTC, which means emergency patients will no longer need to be transported through the hospital to the main imaging department to have a scan. The CT scanner will be funded by generous donations to Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity.
It is hoped that all elements of the work at Ipswich would be complete and fully operational by summer 2023.
Improvements at Colchester Hospital
Work has already taken place to introduce a single front door for walk-in patients at Colchester Hospital with the UTC that opened in October 2019. However, the layout and capacity of the ED need to be improved to support staff to provide the highest quality care as demand continues to increase. As a result:
- The rapid assessment and treatment area will be reconfigured in the ED and the resuscitation area expanded.
- The paediatrics ED will be moved to a different part of the existing emergency department so that it can be expanded and improved.
- The existing frailty and medical assessment/ day areas will be co-located with the existing acute medical same day emergency assessment (AMSDEC) unit.
- A new surgical assessment unit with six additional patient spaces will be created on the ground floor of the new interventional radiology and cardiology department.
It is hoped that all elements of the work at Colchester will be complete and fully operational by late 2022.