TV and radio presenter and former patient of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, Richard Bacon, has today (Wednesday 20 March) opened new services to improve patient care at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). The new services – two wards with 47 beds and a surgical assessment unit – are located in a new building which has been constructed next to QEH’s emergency department.
Medical Director Dr Elizabeth Aitken said: “These new services will make a huge difference in helping us to improve patient care. QEH often receives more ambulances than any other hospital in London, and in the past we simply didn't have enough space for all our patients after they had been seen in the emergency department.
“Now, we have an additional 47 beds for patients who need a short stay in hospital (up to 48 hours), and a consultant led specialist surgical assessment unit. In the assessment unit, we can book patients in for tests (such as ultrasounds for stomach pain) and treatment as outpatients in a purpose-built environment. Many of these patients would previously have needed to stay in hospital overnight, so expanding our specialist outpatient services improves the patient experience, helps people recover sooner and frees up beds for those most in need.”
Opening the new facility, Richard Bacon said: “It’s such an honour to open this new facility, and I’d like to thank the staff at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust for saving my life last year, when I was treated at Lewisham Hospital. The staff showed tremendous compassion towards me and my family; my wife commented that this went beyond medical training. Everyone treated in this new facility will have their own story, and we know that they will be treated with compassion and care from staff who go the extra mile every day.”
The improvements for patients at Queen Elizabeth Hospital have been noted by NHS Improvement (NHSI), the regulator for NHS Trusts. Helen Bennett, NHSI’s Improvement Manager for the Emergency Care Intensive Support team, said: “The Emergency Care Intensive Support team visited QEH is October 2017 and then in February this year. We were impressed to see that passionate clinical staff have driven through significant improvements for patients. The additional beds and development of a surgical assessment unit will help the team to continue this improvement journey, providing the right care in the right place at the right time.”