THE doors to the Ulster Hospital’s new state-of-theart Emergency Department have officially opened. The new Emergency Department, situated in the Dundonald hospital’s Acute Services Block, began welcoming patients yesterday. It is the final stage of a £280 million redevelopment project at the South Eastern Trust site. A new consultant led Minor Injury Unit also opened yesterday on the site of the former Emergency Department, replacing units at Bangor and Ards Community Hospitals. The new 24/7 Emergency Department has been designed  to  provide care in modern treatment spaces and investigation rooms. 

They have been constructed using the latest innovations in design and technology and are well-equipped to provide secure, safe, high quality services to patients. The department is equipped with advanced resuscitation facilities, treatment cubicles, paediatric cubicles, excellent triage facilities and a dedicated ambulance arrivals area. There is a large waiting area to help  patient flow through initial assessment to treatment and discharge, or onward admission to an appropriate ward, if required.  The  recently opened  Imaging Department is  beside  the Emergency Department  to maximise access to diagnostics.

The new consultant led Minor Injury Unit also opened yesterday, and will operate seven days a week, 8am to 6pm, and be staffed by specialist nurses, medical staff and other health care professionals who are able to assess and treat patients  of all ages with minor injuries that are not critical or lifethreatening. These include; injuries to upper and lower limbs, broken bones, sprains, bruises and wounds, bites,  burns and scalds, wound infections, minor head injuries, broken noses, foreign bodies in eyes, ears, nose and skin, arm or leg pain, simple rashes and red eyes or minor eye injuries. Following triage, if required,  some  patients  may be moved to the Emergency Department.

 The Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine  Dr Andrew Dobbin  explained:  “The new Emergency Department is a purpose built space which will really benefit our patients and our staff. “It now has at its disposal all the latest technology, which will help both diagnose and treat patients in need of emergency care.  “I am also delighted that we will be able to use the former Emergency Department for an enhanced Minor Injury Unit, which will help preserve the Emergency Department for emergencies only and improve the flow of patients through our hospital.”

The Chief Executive of the South Eastern Trust Roisin Coulter, added: “The Trust  is excited  and proud to open this new Emergency Department  and  operate an enhanced Consultant led  Minor Injury Unit, which will provide a more comprehensive, long-term, sustainable urgent and emergency care service for the community. “This new, fit for purpose, bright, modern Emergency Department will enable our staff to continue to deliver high quality care to acutely unwell patients in a superior work environment. “Patients are at the heart of everything we do and their safety is our priority.” There is a dedicated main entrance to the new  Emergency Department in the Acute Services Block. However, all other services and wards in the Acute Services Block will continue to be accessed via  the  Critical Care Complex. The route is  clearly signposted.  There is a ‘dropoff’ area  outside the Emergency Department for critically ill patients and anyone with a mobility issue.  A  contactless payment car park  has been built close to the entrance of the new Emergency Department which has 140 spaces for patients and relatives.