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Updated: Royal Surrey Receives Share of Government Funding for A&E Improvements

Published on: 17 Aug, 2023
Updated on: 19 Aug, 2023

The Royal Surrey County Hospital, The Accident & Emergency entrance is on the right of the photo.

By Martin Giles

Guildford’s MP, Angela Richardson, has welcomed the announcement that Royal Surrey County Hospital will see improvements to its urgent and emergency care thanks to a government investment of £2.8 million.

Update: see Cllr James Walsh’s comment below.

The improvements will comprise four new cubicles in A&E, eight new Same Day Emergency Care assessment spaces, and eight new beds on the Acute Medical Unit.

The new funding is part of a £250 million investment in 30 NHS organisations by the government that will deliver 900 new hospital beds across England to help treat patients more quickly this winter. It is hoped that it will relieve pressure and help cut waiting times.

Angela Richardson at the Royal Surrey in 2022

Ms Richardson said: “This is fantastic news for our hospital in Guildford, and it will make a big difference to the care that patients receive. The new cubicles, assessment spaces and beds will increase capacity and speed up the rate at which patients can be seen and treated by NHS staff.

I know people in Guildford treasure the Royal Surrey and this announcement will reassure residents that our brilliant NHS will always be there for us in times of need.”

Joss Bigmore

Reacting to the news, Joss Bigmore, chairman of Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are pleased to have received this investment to improve the trust’s urgent and emergency care provision, which will help us to reduce waiting times for those patients’ who need our help.

“I am pleased to say that work is already underway on the first phase of this exciting project and will see our Emergency Department waiting area remodelled to provide additional assessment spaces to help us treat patients as quickly as possible.

“The funding is also being used to transform the Same Day Emergency Care Unit, an area used to treat those who need additional treatment or diagnostic tests but do not need to stay in hospital overnight; as well as the Frailty Same Day Emergency Care Unit, a special treatment centre for frail patients living with increased vulnerabilities due to their age.

“The building work will cause some inevitable disruption and we are doing everything we can to minimise this. I would like to apologise to any patients and visitors affected by this but we are confident this will all be for the greater good and the benefit of our community longer term.”

Cllr James Walsh

But Cllr James Walsh who leads the three-member Labour Groupdp at GBC said: “While I will always welcome additional resources for the Royal Surrey, and the NHS as a whole, we should never forget that it was the decisions of successive Conservative governments since 2010 that have led us to a place where the health service is chronically under-resourced and under-staffed.

“Starting with the paltry 0.1 per cent real-terms increase it received under David Cameron – an effective cut of £50 billion between 2010 and 2023 on what it would have received had the 4 per cent average remained – we are now in a situation where staff morale is at rock-bottom and waiting lists sky high.

“So while I understand Angela’s jubilation at a little extra winter funding for the Royal Surrey, there is a much bigger picture to bear in mind. The NHS is in crisis and we have a government that simply does not value the service or staff – a change needs to come soon and I look forward to the next general election to help make that happen.”

Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive said:  “Winter is always a busy time for the NHS and so it is right that we put robust plans in place as early as possible to boost capacity and
help frontline staff to prepare for additional pressure.

“Our winter plans, which build on the progress already made on our urgent and emergency care recovery plan, aim to reduce waiting times for patients and to transform services with an expansion of same day care and virtual wards, helping patients to be cared for in
their own home where possible.”

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