Patients could still be treated in corridors at a busy Black Country hospital – even when a new £2.5million A&E extension opens next week, its chief executive has warned.
Bosses at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital have revealed the 10-bed extension will open on November 5.
It is expected to bring much-needed relief to the under-pressure A&E department, which has seen record patient numbers come through the doors in the past year.
But the chief executive of the trust which runs the hospital has moved to dampen expectations of the unit being able to fully cope with patient numbers.
David Loughton said that while the imminent expansion will certainly ease pressure on staff, A&E’s issues will not be solved until the brand new £28m unit opens in 2015.
Speaking at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust board meeting yesterday, Mr Loughton revealed that during a particularly busy day last week, the hospital would still have had six patients being treated in corridors even with the new extension open.
He said: “This will not be solved fully until we get our new department, even with the new extension coming in next week.
“I don’t want to give any guarantees that the capacity issues will be over.
“We would have still had six in the corridor even with the extension on a day last week.
“You can never rule out the wrong patient ending up in the corridor.”
Last week it was revealed that 30 nurses have been taken on to help with the forthcoming surge in demand during the winter period.
Six consultants have also been taken on at the Wednesfield site, while social workers are working seven days a week in a bid to help ease pressure when the cold weather hits.
The recruitment drive forms part of a £2.8m action plan drawn up to avoid a repeat of last year’s capacity issues.
A £500,000 Clinical Decisions Unit – where patients with relatively minor injuries can wait for test results – was unveiled in September.