THE opening of a new Epsom Hospital unit has been described as the "biggest improvement" at the site in years.
It comes just months before its split from St Helier Hospital and merger with Ashford and St Peter’s, and amid promises that services at Epsom will be protected as long as they are used.
Staff and patients at the new £2.5m day care unit, which treats those who need small operations without having to stay in hospital overnight such as having a hernia repaired, met the Duchess of Gloucester at the official opening.
She unveiled a commemorative plaque and was given a guided tour of the department, which also treats those who need endoscopic procedures in which miniscule cameras are used to diagnose digestive and respiratory problems.
Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “All the doctors, nurses and other staff who work in the unit, and those who helped build it, are incredibly proud of the improvements.
“This is the biggest improvement project at Epsom Hospital in years and it is absolutely fantastic news for patients.
"The unit is much bigger than the old one, which means more patients can get the treatment and tests they need faster than before.
"In addition, we’ve designed it around the needs of our patients, with an emphasis on ensuring they receive the utmost privacy and dignity.”
This has been achieved through five new consulting rooms, two areas for endoscopy treatment and the building of separate recovery wards for men, women and children.
A new reception, waiting room and changing areas, as well as offices and staff rooms, were shown off at the building’s opening, part of the trust’s £10m annual capital development programme.
Most concern has been expressed about maternity and A&E services having to be moved to the existing Ashford and St Peter’s facilities, but it has been promised that they will stay at Epsom after the merger as long as staffing levels can be met and more mothers choose to have their babies there.
Article from Guy Martin at getsurrey
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