By Ellie Fox
The Department of Health has awarded £1 million to Colchester hospital to loosen the tension on its Accident and Emergency department.
This was the highest amount of funding available.
Colchester’s A&E performance target is 91.7% – it’s currently in special measures, which were imposed by the Care Quality Commission in 2013. The next assessment will take place in July.
The funding was mainly introduced to help deal with admitted patients in the upcoming winter as quickly and thoroughly as possible as the winter just passed saw some of the worst treatments in the hospital’s history.
In some cases, patients had been left waiting in corridors up to an excruciating eight hours.
Nick Hulme, Chief Executive of Colchester hospital was appointed last year as part of a coalition with Ipswich Hospital to secure financial stability and better the treatment patients receive, subsequently creating more positive outcomes.
He said: “There is no doubt we need at some stage quite a significant redevelopment of the A and E department.
“It is too small and not always easy for nurses to have a direct line of sight for patients.
“In the meantime this will provide significant improvement for patients because it will allow us to improve the front bit of A and E and allows us to stream patients into the appropriate place and the right clinical area rather than the generic waiting area. It is a really important and welcome initial investment.”
Hulme claimed that within the next year the trust would draw up a business plan for a much wider refurbishment of the department.
The situation with increased volume in patients is thought to perhaps be the result of people putting off visiting their GP over the Christmas period and in turn, conditions worsening.
Will Quince, the Conservative MP for Colchester said the funding was “game changing”.
Having requested hospital funding in his constituency previously during PMQ’s it wasn’t surprising that Quince thought it was “really excellent news.”
Tim Fenton, a non-executive director of the hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust said: “We’re happy that we are receiving the money but uncertain how far it will go in terms of improving the building.”