IN VIDEO and PICTURES: Take a look around Wolverhampton's New Cross Hospital's £38m A&E
"This is one of the best A&Es in the country" - the official verdict from New Cross Hospital boss David Loughton as the new £38 million accident and emergency department opened.
The state-of-the-art department opened its doors at 4am yesterday as the old A&E department closed at 3.59am.
Mr Loughton CBE, chief executive of Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said: "It's absolutely great. We have waited a long time to get a new A&E department.
"It's an upgrade all round for everyone. The people of Wolverhampton and the surrounding areas that we serve deserve the best and believe me I think this is one of the best A&E departments in the country."
Jonathan Odum, medical director for the trust, added: "This is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to move into this fantastic new building which we have been waiting for such a long time to deliver real quality care and experience for the patients of Wolverhampton.
"I think it's a fantastic opportunity in a superb new building to deliver quality of care and experience for all the patients who need attention."
Size-wise, the new department eclipses the old one. It is three times as big and brings all the urgent care facilities under one roof, including dedicated radiology and x-ray facilities.
There is also a shorter distance between the resuscitation area and the intensive care unit.
Boasting 30 treatment rooms for minor injuries, 18 for major injuries and a resuscitation area for adults, as well as a dedicated paediatric area for children, the A&E department is one of the largest in the region.
Mr Loughton said: "I have been here for 12 years and for 12 years we have tried to get the funds together and finally we have done it.
"It's an absolutely fantastic facility. It's spacious and it's great working conditions for the staff who have worked in pretty appalling conditions for the last few years in the old department which is not fit for purpose.
"This is just a fantastic facility and it will be great for patients because there is a real privacy and dignity in this building which was not possible in the old A&E."
Mr Odum added: "The geographic layout of this unit makes it much easier and much better to be able to cater for the needs of the patients when they come through into the department.
"So the pathways of care have been designed both with that knowledge and also with what are the recommended pathways for delivering emergency care nationally. One of the mainstays of that agenda is to make sure patients are seen by the most senior clinician who can put a management plan in place that's appropriate for the patient and get that acted on as quickly as possible."
The hospital had 117,000 visitors to its A&E department last year but bosses are sure that capacity won't be a problem with the new department built to cater for 175,000 a year.
Traditionally, the winter months are a testing time for New Cross hospital and its A&E department, but Mr Odum is confident the new building will be able to handle the demand.
He said: "It gives us a real opportunity to cope with the winter months.
"We still have to consider the whole of the hospital and we know that more patients with more serious illnesses are omitted in the winter months and that puts a lot of pressure on the hospital.
"We need to make sure that we've got the capacity and the beds in the hospital to manage that. So whilst we've got a great facility here and great staff to deliver the care down in the emergency department, we still need to make sure that flows through the hospital allow us to put patients in beds when they need it."
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