A&E Expansion Worth £2 Million Planned for Hillingdon Hospital
Hillingdon Hospital is submitting plans to build a £2 million extension to its Accident and Emergency Department in light of a recent crisis in overcrowding.
Image credit: HuffPost UK Hillingdon Hospital is submitting plans to build a £2 million extension to its Accident and Emergency Department in light of a recent crisis in overcrowding. The proposal follows the hospital’s aim to reach the four-hour-target as set out by the government, meaning that at least 95% of patients should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours of their arrival. Hillingdon, which was the third worst performing trust in February, only managed to see 79% of their patients within the national time limit. While the approval is still under the planning committee’s consideration, the hospital recognises that its current A&E footprint is too small for the increasing volume of patients. “The restricted space hinders the speed with which patients can be treated and makes it extremely difficult to meet the waiting time target,” said a spokesperson for Hillingdon Hospital NHS. The hospital, which saw a joint A&E and UCC unit commissioned in 2013, was formerly expected to treat up to 350 patients per day - this number that has, however, climbed to peak at almost 500 patients. When asked why the department struggles to meet the national target, Cllr Tony Burles, who represents Uxbridge South, explains that: “The A&E Department is not large enough to cope with the increase in the population which it serves so well,” adding that he is unable to say anything more as he might be on the committee that decides on the application. Serving more than 12,500 patients in February, Hillingdon is by far the only hospital that has been unable to reach the governmental target; with 85% being the national average, none of the major A&E trusts have managed to meet the four-hour-goal. Cassandra Howells, 28, came to the A&E Department ‘in agony’ due to fluids accumulating in her stomach: “I waited for 12 hours last week - I got here at 2 pm and didn’t go to bed until 2 am,” she said to HuffPost UK. “People were sitting on the floor. There wasn’t space anywhere. There were 15 people waiting for beds but there were no beds available. People were discharging themselves.” The much-needed extension, which is expected to begin as early as next month, is set to be built on the front of the hospital, facing Pield Heath Road and thereby relocating the Urgent Care Centre to make room for the department. In addition to extending the building, plans for reconfiguring the fracture clinic to make room for the UCC unit have also been submitted. The work will, however, not affect the A&E department and the Hillingdon Hospital spokesperson assured that the entrance will be “unaffected and continue to be accessed via the ramp used by both ambulances and pedestrians.”