New £40m Walsall Manor Hospital urgent care unit will not open on time

Completion of a £40 million state-of-the-art urgent care centre at Walsall Manor Hospital has been delayed due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the building trade.

Walsall Manor Hospital
Walsall Manor Hospital

Work is underway on the borough's new Urgent and Emergency Care unit which was initially due to be up and running by December to help tackle winter pressures.

Health chiefs said the centre will now be fully functional early in the new year and they blamed supply chain difficulties for the delay.

Walsall Healthcare’s chief financial officer Russell Caldicott said: “It has been another tough year and many aspects of our lives are still being affected by Covid-19 along with a number of additional economic factors.

“People will be well aware of supply issues that have an everyday impact as well as a major impact on major construction projects such as this one. Work is continuing at pace and we are all sighted on this fantastic new development being handed over to the trust early in the new year, with teams very much looking forward to working in their new environment.”

The building's completion was initially expected to be this autumn and it will now be handed over next year by construction company Tilbury Douglas Limited.

The trust's chief operating officer Ned Hobbs added: “The transition process for staff moving into the new Urgent and Emergency Care Centre and the patients who will be supported there is well underway.

“Whilst we’re now going to have the building handed over to us early in 2023, it does give Tilbury Douglas an opportunity to carry out enabling works on our first floor shell space which will incorporate our frailty service, integrated front door service and mental health and other specialists."

Around 127 staff roles including nurses and clinical support workers were being created for the unit situated next to the existing accident and emergency department.

Facilities include an urgent treatment centre, a rapid assessment and treatment area, and paediatric assessment unit, an acute medical unit.

It is the latest major investment project at the hospital to improve facilities for patients.

Provisions in the new centre will include an isolation room for infectious patients and digital x-ray rooms.

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