Official opening for GWH’s new children’s emergency department
It has been in use since January, but on Wednesday (June 4) Great Western Hospital’s new children’s emergency department got its official opening with a host of young visitors – among them children who had designed art works for the walls.
The £1.2 million scheme provides a Paediatric Emergency Department (ED - or, in old speak, A&E) which is separate for children and relatives, but for staff it is interconnected with the adult emergency department allowing flexibility as demand changes between adult and children.
The man behind the design is Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Mr Rana Nag. He saw the chance to improve and extend the adult ED at the same time as providing the new children’s department. As a result the scheme increased in cost from half a million to £1.2 million.
The re-design has made the hospital’s whole emergency provision much more efficient and patient friendly.
The adult department now has a better entrance and reception area and a hub for clinical staff and nurses. The re-design also means that staff have a direct view into the five cubicles reserved for the most complex cases.
Mr Nag’s aim for the children’s ED was to provide a better environment for children, especially in the waiting room so children will not be exposed to frightening situations with adults who are in stressed or difficult conditions: “If children are calm and not scared, it’s easier to treat them.”
The Paediatric ED has four specialist paediatric nurses – two more than before and with two more still to be appointed. The adult ED has recently employed two more consultants in emergency medicine bringing the total to eight.
The new areas came on stream just as the hospital was experiencing a winter surge in people coming to the ED.
Maria Moore, GWH’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Finance, told those gathered for the official opening that the hospital could not have coped without the extended adult ED and the new Paediatric ED.
Although this surge has abated a bit, Mr Nag emphasises that GWH’s ED is busier than ever all the year round. “Our ED treated 50,000 in 2002 when the new hospital opened. Last year we treated 77,000 – an increase of more than 50 percent.”
Clinical Matron Annette Baskerville, who is GWH's lead nurse for both EDs, has one word for the new paediatric ED: “Fantastic”. And the feedback so far from parents and children has been ‘really positive”.
She says the art work, which was funded by charitable gifts and designed by local children, makes a real difference: “It takes away the clinical atmosphere and it’s a great distraction if you have to do a procedure on a child.”
“And being a separate area, it reduces parents’ stress – they won’t need to worry if their children are noisy.”
The building work had to planned very carefully so the ED could continue its work and because of the pressures on the ED, it did take a little longer than expected.
The project manager for the work was deputy general manager Victoria Brown and she is full of praise for the building contractors SSE: “They were phenomenal. We couldn’t have asked for a better team – we had a very good working relationship with them.”
Some of the ‘extras’ in the children’s ED which cannot be bought with NHS funds, were paid for by the £20,000 raised by various charities – including the Highworth and District Lions who also gave the waiting room television. [Click on pictures to enlarge them.]