PLANS to give Sunderland Royal Hospital’s ageing emergency department a multi-million pound revamp have been submitted for approval.
Details of the changes were first unveiled last year with trust bosses admitting the current facility needs updating.
It is hoped that the new five-story development will help to alleviate pressure on the Royal’s A&E department, after hospital chiefs said admissions had risen between seven and eight per cent over the past year, far above the national average of three to five per cent.
Issues such as having to deal with a broader range of health issues, an ageing population and a shortage of doctors willing to work in A&E have all contributed to the increase.
If given the go-ahead, building work could start within the next few months and could be finished by 2016.
The work will be completed in three phases, beginning with the refurbishment of two existing wards and an extension to the front of the building to provide the new paediatric emergency department entrance.
The second phase will see the refurbishment of the existing emergency department. A new five-storey extension will be added to the front of the building.
During this phase, the newly refurbished paediatric area will be used as a temporary emergency department.
Phase three would include the construction of a glazed entrance canopy, with the adult emergency department temporarily providing emergency care for all patients.
Once complete, the adult and children’s emergency department will be completely separate.
To cater for the increase in patients, staff numbers will also be boosted.
Medical staff during any 24-hour period will increase from 30 to 35, adult nursing staff from 95 to 120, and paediatric nursing staff from 25 to 30. A spokesman for City Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The new emergency department at Sunderland Royal will be one of the most advanced units in the region offering patients the highest quality of emergency department technology and staffing.
“The existing department at Sunderland Royal received over 127,000 attendances during 2013-14 – the new unit will meet the demands of ever-increasing patient numbers and the pressures of the growing elderly population.” A consultation over the development, which can be viewed on Sunderland City Council’s planning portal, ends on Friday.
RPS Planning and Development is the agent behind the plans.