Huge improvements made at Royal Preston Hospital thanks to £1.9m funding boost

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has made huge improvements to its emergency department at Royal Preston Hospital, thanks to a £1.9m funding boost to improve facilities and increase capacity.

Developments made to the emergency department at Preston include a new rapid assessment triage space to enable ambulances to handover patients without delay, extra cubicles to treat patients with serious conditions, upgraded high acuity cubicles, a new space for frail or elderly patients, extra surgical assessment capacity, a mobile x-ray, and IT systems to improve bed management.

Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said: “We are delighted that our bid was successful and we have been able to invest this much needed money into a number of schemes to reduce ambulance handover delays, and ensure our emergency department patients can be seen and admitted promptly. This investment is particularly welcome when capital funds for the NHS have been restricted in recent times.”

“It has been a fantastic team effort, and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for being so flexible and patient during the building work taking place. I would also like to thank staff from across our other services who have moved offices and clinics to enable this building work to take place.”

“We are confident that this investment will improve patient experience within our emergency department and vastly improve the standard of care which we are providing.”

Speaking about the new rapid assessment and triage service; Faith Button, Operations Deputy Director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said that: “the new service will ensure that patients arriving by ambulance are handed over quickly, assessed by a senior team, and their treatment decided swiftly so they are transferred to the most appropriate place for the next stage of their care without delay. Previously patients arriving by ambulance would first be seen on the arrival corridor, so this is a much better patient experience that provides more privacy and dignity, as well as improving the pathway.”

Ambulance handover times at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals have already significantly improved compared to last winter, and this new service and way of working will enable ambulance crews to get back on the road even quicker.

These changes are part of a wider programme designed to improve flow throughout the hospitals, and ensure patients are transferred without delay to the most appropriate setting for their needs. 

Additionally, any patient with a minor injury or illness is now being treated by the urgent care centre, which has enabled work to take place on the minor injury and illness area. The minor injury and illnesses area has been transformed into a modern, fit for purpose area for people with major conditions, including new monitoring equipment that enables staff to order tests at the bedside and access information.

The redesign has been led by emergency department clinicians, to ensure that the changes work well in practice. 

Lynn Sime, Matron within the emergency department at Royal Preston Hospital, said: “This has been a real team effort from all of the staff within our emergency department, our domestic and estates staff, project management team, and IT staff, as well as local contractors D&G builders.”

“Staff have been working so hard in less than ideal conditions with great commitment to provide the highest standard of care. This investment provides a much better environment and has really boosted morale, which is fantastic to see.”