Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (YDH) cares for a patient population of more than 185,000 people and as the population of Somerset increases, so too does pressure on the hospital’s resources. During periods of high demand, the need for beds at the hospital can exceed availability, therefore a requirement was identified for an additional ward where emergency patients could be assessed and treated on a short term basis to relieve the impact on beds in the main hospital.
As well as meeting clinical need, any solution needed to be cost effective and quick to deliver on a tight hospital site with limited space available for development.
Utilising the additional capacity and capability of its strategic estates partner, Interserve Prime, YDH’s estates team progressed plans for a new Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU), which would be used for people seen in A&E and outpatient clinics who required emergency care, further assessment or short-term/overnight observation.
The EAU is a 24-bed ward comprising five 4-bed bays and four en-suite rooms. To provide flexibility and maximise space efficiencies, the en-suite rooms were designed to also be used as treatment rooms, allowing the space to flex to meet demand.
The EAU utilises a prefabricated modular design, and is located on top of the existing outpatients building in the main hospital complex. It took just 36 hours over a weekend to crane the modular units into place, minimising disruption to staff and patients.
- Prefabricated design reduces disruption on the hospital site – With the 24 modular units manufactured off-site, these could be craned into place over a weekend, reducing construction time and minimising disruption to staff, patients and visitors.
- Additional capacity and capability reduces project delivery time – The whole project took 9.5 months from the identification of clinical need to the first patients being admitted. This timeframe included agreeing the brief and design, obtaining planning permission, completing enabling works, prefabrication of the modular units, installation and commissioning.
- Innovative design to maximise space efficiencies – The hospital is situated in a heavily residential area with little space for development. The idea to build on top of the outpatients building was suggested as both a space and cost efficient solution and was made possible by an innovative approach to construction.
- Robust brief responds to clinical need and improves the patient journey – The introduction of the EAU has changed the way that patients are referred within the hospital. Patients are now moved out of outpatients or A&E if they need further assessment/observation and are either admitted or discharged within 48 hours.