PLANNING and preparatory work for the new Out Patient Department at Borders General Hospital is underway.
With the offer of additional capital funding to use this financial year, NHS Borders is seizing the opportunity and working with BGH clinicians to take forward this redevelopment project.
Assistant medical director, Dr Hamish McRitchie said: “The project is a significant and welcome opportunity to invest in and contribute to the overall changes in the way hospital services are delivered to the people of the Borders. Everyone uses outpatients, so this is a real benefit to the people of the Borders.
“An upgrade of our outpatient department, which has had only minor changes since the BGH was built two decades ago, is long overdue.
From a clinical perspective the current arrangement is unsuitable for the work of a modern out patient department and it limits procedures that can be offered. It has a confusing layout and creates environmental challenges for both control of infection and older people.
“Access to certain areas is difficult and the location and layout on the first floor is no longer sensible for the busiest department in the hospital.
“This very recently available funding means that we can move the department to a central, ground floor location, with purpose-designed facilities, rather than simply carry out a more modest redecoration of the existing department. This move gives up the opportunity to transform the way we deliver outpatient services.”
The new Out Patient Department will be created in the existing Occupational and Physiotherapy areas on the ground floor of the hospital. Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy will be integrated into a new combined Rehabilitation facility which will be created in the current Ward 10 area.
Ward 10 itself will move into Ward 14 when the Margaret Kerr Unit opens in January. NHS Borders say the move of Ward 10 will also allow them the opportunity to create an environment that is more fitting for the patient groups in the ward and address the issues, including an improved entrance and signposting, which were identified in the Older People in Acute Hospitals inspection of the BGH in July.
Dr McRitchie continued: “One area that has proved difficult is the arrangement for re-providing Hydrotherapy. Recognising that we would need to take a phased approach to this, we have always stated that there would be a short-term solution that best met the needs of patients, whilst planning for a longer-term permanent arrangement, that provided services from more than one site.
“Our Hydrotherapy service review has commenced and the senior clinicians advise us that we should retain the Hydrotherapy pool for the short-term, until the review is complete and an alternative model for providing Hydrotherapy services is established. This will allow time for a process of staff and public engagement. We have therefore adopted a phased approach to the development of the Out Patient Department.”
Phase 1 of this approach will see Audiology, Physiological Measurement and Medical Outpatient clinics move to the new development on the ground floor in June 2013 with the Hydrotherapy pool will remain in its current position during this phase.
Phase 2 will see the development of a purpose-designed Physiological measurement area and the relocation of the remainder of outpatient clinics.