Coventry is set to get a brand new minor injuries unit to help ease pressure on A&E – as figures show attendances have risen by almost a third since 2010.
The new centre comes thanks to a £15m government grant to the emergency department at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, which is one of the busiest of its kind in the country.
The money will also go towards expanding the existing emergency department, installing additional treatment cubicles, expanding the waiting room in the Children’s Emergency Department, increasing the level of same day emergency care and supporting diagnostic capacity through an additional CT scanner.
The hospital welcomed the funding as “much-needed investment”.
The news has also been described as a “win for Coventry” by MP Colleen Fletcher, whose campaign for funding for the hospital to provide an additional minor injuries unit led to the announcement.
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Ms Fletcher, who represents Coventry North East, raised the issue in Parliament in January, citing figures showing that almost one in four people attending A&E at Coventry had to wait more than four hours to be seen.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed that either he or the health secretary Matt Hancock would meet with her to discuss it.
That meeting took place on January 21, when Mr Hancock met with Ms Fletcher and chief executive of UHCW, Andy Hardy. Following the discussion the hospital submitted a funding application to the Department of Health. That has been successful and the expansion has been given the green light.
What happens to the existing urgent treatment centres?
The Rugby Urgent Treatment Centre based at the Hospital of St Cross, which is available 24/7, and the Coventry Urgent Treatment Centre on Stoney Stanton Road, open from 8am to 10pm, will continue to offer services.
Campaigners argued that a minor injuries unit was needed in Coventry to ease pressure on A&E.
The department serves a catchment area of more than a million people and is one of the busiest in the country.
In 2010 there were 117,282 attendances. That rose to 152,284 in 2019, an increase of 29.8 per cent.
A spokesman for UHCW said that the funding will be used to reconfigure the emergency department to ensure it is able to meet projected demographic growth in the area. The project will be delivered in a phased approach so that patient care isn’t affected.
Timescales are yet to be confirmed.
‘We can future proof our services’
Professor Kiran Patel, the hospital’s chief medical officer and interim chief executive officer, said: “We are very proud of our emergency department and the safe, high-quality care we provide for those most in need.
“This welcome and much-needed investment means we can future-proof our services and further improve how patients are assessed and treated within our emergency department to improve the patient experience.
“We believe these developments will allow us to deliver new, innovative ways of working to help continue to enhance the overall experience for our patients and their families.”
Ms Fletcher added: “I am delighted that UHCW has been awarded the money to expand their A&E department – this is a win for the whole of Coventry.
“The award realises the ambitions of my campaign earlier in the year for additional funding to take the pressure of the A&E department at UHCW.
“The current trend of continually increasing demand on UHCW A&E department simply was not sustainable and this, unfortunately, led to rising waiting times for some patients.
“However, with this award, UHCW will be able to establish a minor injuries unit, meaning that patients will be treated more efficiently with fewer delays.
“As a local MP who has lived in this city all my life, my family has been the beneficiary of the excellent care that UHCW provides, so I am pleased that this funding ensures that our hospital can continue to provide the same excellent care that Coventry residents have come to expect from the wonderful doctors, nurses and medical staff who work there.”