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Expanded emergency department open in time for Christmas at Royal Cornwall Hospital

By WBMiles  |  Posted: December 17, 2013

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Imogen Hayes, Emma Binch, Mark Lewis, Steven Palmer and Karen Merton at the emergency department.

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It is not only shops and bars that are preparing for the Christmas rush.

The biggest medical emergency department in Cornwall has undergone a huge expansion in time for Christmas and New Year festivities.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital’s emergency department is now one-and-a-half times bigger with new trolley bays.

The works are part of a £4.4 million investment in the department and the first stage will be launched on Christmas Eve.

Mark Lewis, charge nurse in the emergency department said: “We used to have eight cubicles which was crazy. Now we will have 22 bays - we’ve almost tripled in size.

“The quality of care is going to get better and staff morale is going to increase.”

The department deals with approximately 60,000 people every year.

“Patients will go straight in a cubicle and that is where they will stay,” said Mr Lewis. “From there they will be seen by an emergency doctor, tests will be done and they will be admitted to hospital or discharged home.”

Mr Lewis said he hoped the new facilities would enable the emergency department to meet the national target of dealing with every patient who arrives at the hospital within a maximum of four hours.

Toby Slade, emergency department consultant, said the whole team were looking forward to the launch of the newly-expanded department.

“It’s going to be a nicer environment for patients and it will enhance the care we can provide for people coming in,” he said.

The emergency department has remained open throughout the expansion with staff working around the changes.

“Logistically it’s been huge,” said Mr Slade. “We don’t close.”

The consultant said Christmas brought the usual mixture of winter patients.

“We’re going to get a few ice-skating injuries,” he said. “Other than that it’s cold weather stuff so slips and trips and pneumonia.

“We do see quite a few patients who are elderly people so it’s good for neighbours to keep an eye out.”

On the morning the West Briton visited, Les Wright, 68, from Penryn, was being seen by staff for severe chest pains.

Mr Wright had also previously been treated at the Royal Cornwall Hospital for lung cancer and said all the staff he had encountered were “brilliant”.

“The staff are good as gold, they can’t do enough,” he said. “People don’t know what they have to put up with. I can’t praise them enough.”

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