A new unit which will provide assessment and treatment for short stay patients while helping to avoid unnecessary admissions has opened at West Suffolk Hospital.
The clinical decision unit (CDU) has been built in a courtyard garden next to the emergency department (ED).
The £800,000 unit, which has a bright, contemporary design, can cater for six patients in beds and a further four in reclining chairs at any one time.
It will care for patients who have come into hospital via ED and need a few hours of monitoring or treatment before a decision is taken on whether to admit them to a ward or discharge them.
This could include patients who are recovering from an anaesthetic, have suffered concussion or an overdose, are waiting for additional test results or need extra observation before they can be discharged.
Patients in the CDU will remain under the care of ED consultants, and will stay in the unit for a maximum of around 12 hours.
Anyone who needs to stay in hospital for more than a few hours will continue to be admitted directly to a ward from the ED.
Jon Green, chief operating officer at West Suffolk Hospital, said: “We are pleased that we have been able to open this unit in time for the winter, which is always a busy time for the NHS.
“The CDU will help the flow of patients from our emergency department by providing an area where we can carry out any extra investigations or observations.
“We estimate that this will help us prevent up to 15 unnecessary admissions to the main hospital every day, in turn making sure our beds remain available for those in the greatest clinical need.
“The unit has been specially designed to use bright, modern colours and contrasting finishes to help people with dementia, and also complies with the very highest standards for preventing infection.”
The unit, which has two three-bedded bays so that male and female patients can be treated separately, is expected to care for around 30 patients every day.