Visitors to Sunderland Royal Hospital’s newly opened emergency department will be treated in a “state-of-the-art” facility say health chiefs.
The revamp of the site’s former A&E finally opened on Thursday morning after its original first day of May 18 was postponed due to a cyber attack on NHS computer systems.
The previous facility was originally opened in 1978 and its facilities had been deemed “unfit for purpose”.
Now, after working in temporary facilities for the past 18 months, staff are getting used to their new surroundings.
More than 105,000 people use the Royal’s emergency facilities each year, with bosses renewing calls for the public to avoid attending emergency wards unless it is absolutely necessary.
Anthony Watson, project lead and matron for emergency care at City Hospitals Sunderland, said: “Prior to working in the temporary site the staff were in a building which wasn’t really fit for today’s purpose.
“Now, they are working with state-of-the-art equipment in a wonderful new environment.
“We now have access to new technologies and systems which we will be using to provide better quality of care for our patients, with the emphasis on privacy and dignity.”
The department is located at the front of the hospital and is closer to Kayll Road than Chester Road.
There are two separate entrances; one for adult emergencies and one for children’s emergencies while ambulance arrivals have a dedicated entrance.
Inside, there is a dedicated resuscitation area, a high acuity area for those who have suffered suspected heart attacks among other illnesses, and an area where patients can be seen by a GP.
Staff on the department also have access to rapid diagnostics such as X-ray and CT scanning.
“From a patient perspective it’s a much speedier process,” added Mr Watson.
“We’ve seen increased capacity here but we still want to spread the message that we are just one part of a wider system which includes urgent care centres.
“What we really want to do here in the emergency department is focus our attention on patients who need these services the most.
“We also want to thank the public for their patience.
“The old environment was a temporary area for us and the staff are elated to be in here now.”