Northwick Park Hospital A&E unit opens under cloud of doubt
- Credit: Archant
Following delay after delay, the much-anticipated new £21m casualty department has opened at Northwick Park (NPH) hospital.
The opening of the state of the art unit at the hospital in Watford Road, Sudbury, took place in the early hours of this morning as ambulances were diverted during the four-hour move.
The revamped casualty unit includes a dedicated treatment area for children and 40 individual bays to allow patients greater privacy and is located closer to intensive care units and operating theatres.
It also features a new ambulance drop-off system featuring a two way ramp and seven vehicle bays.
While the move may be welcomed following the controversial closure of the A&E unit at Central Middlesex Hospital in Park Royal in September, doubt remains over whether NPH will be able to cope.
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Harlesden-based health campaigner Sarah Cox, said: “It’s a good thing it’s finally opening but the crisis from the closure of the A&E three months ago has allowed things to build up. They don’t have the beds they need and there’s a staff shortage. They can’t recruit and are not taking that problem into account.’’
‘‘The delay has increased the pressure on A&E, with ambulances being told to call in before they arrive. It really is appalling.”
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Mary Daly, Labour councillor for Sudbury, said the move had left her “very concerned”.
“I’d be terrified if I fell ill and had to go to A&E in Northwick Park,” she said. “They will cope much better with the existing demand but we all know the demands have increased massively over the last three months so it leaves me very concerned. It will hopefully bring improvements but how much?
“There’s a better floor through the unit but we need extra beds. They had beds but they closed them. Why? I have more questions than I have answers and remain alarmed for local people.”
London North West Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWH) has come under fire in recents months for having the worst A&E waiting times in the country, its bed crisis, and falling ambulance response times.
Tina Benson, Director of Operations at LNWH said that a task force has been set up to review the emergency pathway across the whole organisation: “Increasing beds is not the only issue that needs to be addressed. Developing a new reliable and safe pathway for our patients is the Trust’s number one priority.”
She added that the new unit has increased the number of senior clinical staff and consultant cover while three extra nurses and three to six health care assistants would cover each shift and that waiting times for patients are under review.
“We are working with commissioners, London Ambulance Service and NHS England to identify and agree actions on waiting times at Northwick Park Hospital.