Investment in 45 new beds and A&E pressures

​University Hospitals of North Midlands is investing £2m to create 45 new beds at Royal Stoke University Hospital. The beds are being built as part of a reconfiguration of the Main Building, which will increase the size of 12 wards by either three or four beds. The new beds will help reduce the time patients needing to be admitted wait in A&E, which could benefit around 5,000 people and enable the Trust to improve its performance in relation to the national A&E target for four hour waiting times.  ​

At the same time, UHNM is appealing for support from the local community to reduce the extreme pressures on A&E services at both County Hospital, Stafford and Royal Stoke University Hospital today (Tuesday 12 September 2017). Currently both sites are experiencing exceptionally high demand and the Trust are asking the public to only attend Accident & Emergency Departments for anything classed as an emergency, including choking, chest pain, loss of consciousness, severe blood loss, broken bones, difficulty breathing, deep wounds or a suspected stroke.

Paula Clark, Chief Executive, said: "Once patients are admitted to a ward we give them excellent care, but the experience of waiting in A&E for long periods is far from ideal and I want to see significant progress in this area. We simply don't have enough beds at the moment, so this investment really will help improve the overall experience of our patients as we move into what is likely to be a very busy winter. Getting patients into a bed in quickly is only part of the equation, we still need help from other NHS and social care partners to ensure that people are discharged in a timely way, but this is an important piece of the jigsaw."

Dr John Oxtoby, Medical Director, said: "The additional bed capacity will be created through the conversion of largely unused day rooms and assisted bathrooms that are currently being used for storage. From a clinical perspective converting these under-utilised spaces is absolutely the right thing to do for our patients."

Liz Rix, Chief Nurse, said: "The Main Building is an outstanding facility and many of these new beds will have stunning views across the Lyme Valley. The works will ensure that each bed has the same high standards of infection prevention measures and good access to bathrooms as the rest of the ward. The Main Building has made a huge difference to health care in the North Midlands and I'm really pleased more patients will benefit from being treated here."

As many of the areas being renovated were being used for storage, UHNM will be converting other unused waiting areas into storage areas to offset this loss. Main Building is the name of the new hospital building that opened in November 2011 as part of a £400m investment into Royal Stoke University Hospital. Of the 45 new beds, two will be available for children in the Children's Centre, 30 beds will be created for medical patients and a further 13 beds for specialist services.

The works have commenced and the majority of the beds will be completed before January 2018. This will mean that there will be fewer beds available for the first month, but following this the beds numbers will increase gradually. To offset this UHNM is using Jackfield Ward at Haywood Hospital during the works. There will be a number of ward moves during the building works but robust plans are in place to keep any disruption to an absolute minimum.​