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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > New West Cumberland Hospital introduces innovative emergency floor

New West Cumberland Hospital introduces innovative emergency floor

Posted on Tuesday 25th August 2015
accident and emergency wch

The exterior of the new West Cumberland Hospital's A&E department

The new West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven which opens on 5 October 2015 will include an integrated emergency floor which will provide one of the most advanced and joined up emergency care services in the NHS.   

The dedicated floor will include the A&E department, an ambulatory care unit, an emergency assessment unit and the out-of-hours service, Cumbria Health On Call (CHOC) – with health and social care professionals all working together to support people coming through the emergency doors of the new hospital. The department is also conveniently located next to diagnostics, critical care and coronary care.

In 2014/15, over 32,000 people attended the A&E department at West Cumberland Hospital. With increased pressure on A&E services across the country, the Trust is working to ensure patients are treated quickly and efficiently and in the most appropriate way for their condition. Despite changes to emergency hospital services over the past two years with some patients who need access to 24-hour specialist care being transferred to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, the majority of people living in West Cumbria will continue to receive their emergency care at West Cumberland Hospital.

Nurse practitioners will be working in the ambulatory care service which is there to manage a proportion of emergency adult patients who come through A&E or via an emergency GP referral. The Trust developed 12 further nurse practitioner roles at West Cumberland Hospital last year in preparation for the opening of the new emergency floor.

Nurse practitioners are highly trained nursing specialists who can safely and efficiently care for patients on the same day, avoiding admission to a hospital bed. They can assess and diagnose patients, carry out investigations, prescribe treatment and provide continuity of care. 80% of patients will be able to go home having been thoroughly assessed in ambulatory care, perhaps with pain relief and instructions.

Partnership working between CHoC and the Trust will continue in the new hospital, with GPs already working in CHoC and the hospital’s A&E department. This is providing both greater job opportunities for GPs and helping to treat the large number of patients who arrive at A&E with minor illnesses or ailments. 

Susan Blakemore, managing director of CHoC, said: “The CHoC Team are looking forward to moving into this excellent new facility and working closely with our colleagues from the Accident & Emergency Department. This will consolidate many years of working together to ensure that patients are seen by the right clinician at the right time.”

Emma Farrow, clinical director for emergency care at West Cumberland Hospital, said: “We are very much looking forward to moving into the purpose-built integrated emergency floor where we will be able to work in a much more streamlined way with our partners.

“For the first time patients will have access to A&E and their out-of-hours GP services in one place, making it much easier for people to understand where they need to go for urgent medical help. The key for us is being fully joined up and integrated with other parts of the health service which makes absolute sense for our patients in West Cumbria.”