Work is underway to create a new unit that will help people attending the emergency department at Royal Hampshire County Hospital get the treatment they need sooner.

The Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) unit will allow patients to be seen and assessed by specialist clinicians sooner, reducing the likelihood of them requiring an overnight stay in hospital. RHCH.JPG

Building work is already under way to create the unit, which it is hoped will open in early autumn and is located next to the newly redeveloped emergency department at Winchester hospital.

Julie Dawes, chief nurse at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Winchester hospital, as well as Andover War Memorial Hospital and Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, said: “We are all really excited to see the new unit take shape.

“The aim of the Same Day Emergency Care unit is to give patients access to many of the services available to inpatients, such as assessment by senior medical staff and diagnostic scans, without needing them to be admitted to the wards.”

As well as being identified as suitable in the emergency department, some patients may also be directly admitted to the unit by their GP or the ambulance service.

Patients suitable for admission to the unit will mainly be those who need to be assessed urgently, but may not require a hospital stay. This includes patients showing symptoms of conditions such as appendicitis, blood clots, gallstones and pneumonia.

This new way of caring for patients follows the success of an Ambulatory Care Unit and Emergency Surgery Ambulatory Clinic (ESAC), which opened at Basingstoke hospital earlier this year. It is hoped that opening a similar model of care in Winchester will mirror the results, reducing the amount of time patients spend in the emergency department and in hospital.