Temporary A&E extension increases capacity

Mobile solution supports emergency service expansion at Southmead Hospital

A mobile solution from Vanguard is being used to help deal with increasing numbers of A&E patients at Southmead Hospital

A flexible solution for expanding A&E capacity is operating at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, helping to increase the number of patients seen in A&E while social distancing restrictions remain in place.

Towards the end of last year, the hospital had experienced a rise in the number of COVID-19 patients, and with upcoming winter pressures and continued uncertainty over the pandemic; North Bristol NHS Trust took the decision to increase capacity for any future surges in demand.

The decision has resulted in a better way of managing patient flow and reassurance that there would be sufficient capacity to treat everyone, regardless of the COVID-19 situation, without waiting times in the A&E department increasing substantially.

Having been delivered to the site in January, the clinic is now providing additional assessment and treatment space primarily for minor injuries, seven days a week.

Situated in the car park opposite the main entrance to the A&E department, the clinic contains a reception and patient waiting area, consultation rooms for seeing patients, and a plaster room, as well as clean and dirty utility rooms, a toilet, and cleaning store.

And the layout of the mobile clinic is designed with efficient patient flow in mind and maximises available space.

Having a standalone facility next to A&E for assessing patients and treating minor injuries has made it easier to manage patient flow while maintaining social distancing, and means patients can be treated in a timely manner and in the most-suitable setting.

The temporary mobile clinic was provided by Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, which worked in close collaboration with clinical staff as well as estates personnel from Bouygues E&S, which manages the hospital estate.

Griff Griffiths, senior project manager at Bouygues E&S, said: “There are many benefits of using a flexible facility like this clinic when temporary space is required.

“Being mobile, the unit was up and running very quickly, causing minimal disruption at the hospital site.”

Simon Squirrell, national sales manager for Vanguard, added: “The unit provides the trust with a solution that will enable more-efficient streaming of patients coming through A&E, increase capacity, and reduce the pressure on the existing facilities.

“It has also allowed the trust to prepare for potentially-heightened demand from COVID-19 or seasonal pressures.“

The temporary facility will be on site for an initial period of six months.

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