Welcome to the first briefing Getting prepared for our new Emergency Department

We will share information with you about how the final building work is going and how you can help us prepare for the opening of the new Emergency Department which is on Wednesday 26 April 2017 at 4am.

John Adler – Chief Executive

The story so far…

Our Emergency Department (ED) will see us complete the first part of our £320m 5-Year Plan ‘Delivering Caring at its Best’ to improve our hospitals.  In late 2014 we began the construction for a new, bigger ED which really began to take shape in early 2016.  The £43.3m ED will improve not only the experience for emergency patients, but also for staff working in and with the department.

With an ageing population, it was important that we created an environment that is dementia friendly and will allow our staff to treat the clinical needs of that set of patients. We have worked with Age UK and Vista to ensure our facilities meet the needs of all of our patients; this includes rubber flooring in the department rather than vinyl, which can be difficult to walk on. We also have purpose-built mental health rooms, where patients will be protected from harm whilst they are assessed and treated.  Eye casualty will have a new home alongside the minor injury and illness team, within the new ‘Blue Zone’.

Our new dedicated Children’s Emergency Department will still have its own entrance and has been designed to meet the needs of both young children and teenagers, with specially designed waiting areas.

Building work

Work continues on finishes inside the department and on the grounds outside.  If you have had reason to visit the Royal Infirmary recently you will have noticed that the island between Welford Road and Infirmary Road has been prepared so that ambulances can enter the site to reach the new ED.  We currently have 250 builders on site finishing work before Interserve Construction hand over the keys. 

On Monday 6 March Interserve Construction will officially hand over the keys to us for the new ED.  We will then begin to familiarise our staff with the new space and processes, install and test all of the IT and clinical equipment, and decontaminate the area (deep cleaning) before the doors open to its first patients at 4am on Wednesday 26 April.

As soon as the last remaining patients leave the current department on 26 April, we will begin to decommission the existing ED for Phase 2 of the Emergency Floor project which will be completed in Spring 2018.  As part of the decommissioning, we will be taking down all fixed equipment from the walls, removing any equipment left behind and cleaning the space prior to handover to the construction team.  Phase 2 will see all of our assessment units, including the acute frailty unit, being moved onto one floor right next door to the ED.

Also on Wednesday 26 April we will permanently close the entrance to the Balmoral Building.  We need to do this to continue the Phase 2 building works.  This will of course mean a lot of work with staff and patients to ensure that people can find the clinic or ward in Balmoral or Windsor that they need to attend.  We will be changing the signage and way finding around the Royal Infirmary site and creating information and new maps for patients/visitors.

John Adler, Chief Executive

How will the opening of the new Emergency Department affect the rest of the Royal Infirmary site?

Accessing the Royal Infirmary site will change for many people. 

We are in the process of creating a new site map, colour coding our signage and ensuring that patients who have appointments with us are aware that they will need to access the Windsor and Balmoral buildings via the new main entrance in the Windsor building.  The new main entrance is more conveniently located near our patient car park on Havelock Street, which is where our multi-storey car park is.

Volunteers will be on hand to help guide patients to their destination, and new directional signage will go up inside and outside to help people navigate their way around our site.  The introduction of colour coded buildings will begin to help with that process.

Using our new Emergency Department

The messages to the public will remain the same.  If they need medical advice they should see their GP or call NHS 111.  They should only use the Emergency Department or telephone 999 for real emergencies such as loss of consciousness, severe breathing difficulties, heavy bleeding, severe chest pain, possible broken bones, deep wounds, suspected stroke, or if you swallowed something harmful or poisonous/ taken a drug overdose. 

Members of the public will arrive at our ED and will be triaged and treated based on their medical need.  There is a new layout to the Royal Infirmary site with this new build but there will be new signage, way finding and maps across the site, supported by our volunteers and security staff to direct people to the right entrances.

Did you know…
Over 550 tonnes of steel have been used in the project – the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York only used 125 tonnes