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Local hospitals are prepared for winter

Preston Emergency Department

Published by at 5:46am 17th December 2018

Hospital bosses across Lancashire say they're ready for the extra demand this winter and started making plans to deal with extra patients months ago.

A new winter ward with 23 extra beds has opened at Chorley Hospital, while the Royal Preston has more cubicles and a mobile x-ray in their A&E department.

Bosses have also increased the number of senior doctors available to provide cover seven days a week at both hospitals.

The Royal Blackburn opened an emergency care unit in September where they can look after patients for around 12 hours while they have blood tests or x-rays and scans.

And Ward 19 at Burnley General has been refurbished so that people who have started major treatment can recover.

Karen Partington, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

"The new dedicated 'winter ward' at Chorley is already open and fully operational to provide the extra bed capacity which we know we will need over the coming weeks.

"The building work we've undertaken within the emergency department at Preston to improve the facilities and increase the available space will also make a huge difference to reducing ambulance handover delays and improve our performance against the four-hour target too.

"Our new discharge process and dedicated discharge facilitators will also help to make sure that patients who are medically well enough to leave hospital do so as soon as possible. This will help to free up beds for the expected increase in the number of people needing to be admitted."

Professor Damian Riley, the Medical Director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said their preparations start very early on:

"Our preparations start much earlier in the year when we begin to estimate the number of extra beds that we're going to need in the hospital and the number of extra people who might be attending.

"What we really see through winter time is a change in the type of people and the type of illness coming to the emergency department.

"Rather than it be sport injuries and ankle sprains, much more we see the major fractures where people might have fallen on the ice and we see chest infections and severe infections."

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