A brand-new Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) is to be built at Worthing Hospital in a £4.5 million development that will improve patient care and staff experience.
UTCs are an alternative to A&E for patients with minor illnesses and injuries that require urgent attention, but not life-saving specialist care from hospital consultants and nurses.
Located within an expanded Emergency Department, the GP-led UTC will provide a larger waiting area, new courtyard extension, and 10 UTC consultation rooms and supporting facilities.
The investment will also see the creation of a same day emergency care unit (SDEC), that combined with the UTC will help patients be seen more quickly and avoid admission to hospital.
Worthing Hospital director, Stephen Mardlin, said: “Colleagues are ecstatic that this is happening. We’ll have a slicker, smoother process for patients in a larger emergency department, with a new UTC right at the front door of the hospital.
“This development will free up capacity in the A&E, improve efficiency, improve waiting times, and we’ll be able to see more people, more efficiently.”
Worthing Hospital nurse director, Tori Cooper, agreed, saying: “This is going to improve patient care and experience at the front door of the hospital and provide a better environment for our staff to care for patients.”
In the last 12 months, Worthing Hospital has seen more than 94,000 patients through its Emergency Department, with around 68,000 of those being walk-in attendances.
The new UTC will see an estimated 40,000 patients a year and help ensure people are being treated in the right place, by the right medical professionals, at the right time.
Stephen added: “We are responding to the needs of our local population. The UTC and SDEC will mean our older population will be seen at the front door, where they need to be seen, and receive the care required to avoid admission: getting people treated, getting them home and keeping them at home.”
The work begins in December and is scheduled to be completed next year. The funding has come from a national investment of £250m to expand capacity in emergency departments.
University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust is one of 30 organisations across England to benefit from the cash injection.
The investment in urgent and emergency care at Worthing Hospital comes as Trust funding for a new SDEC unit at St Richard’s has been approved, and a three-year £48m redevelopment of the Acute Floor at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton is due to begin.