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A major investment to transform care for acute surgical patients at Southampton General Hospital has been agreed by the Trust.
The £4.3 million surgical day unit will be located beside the main theatre complex and will look after patients admitted on the day of their operation.
The specialist unit will be equipped to deal with patients more quickly and effectively by providing additional capacity in close proximity to theatres. Being close to theatres means that surgeons and anaesthetists can stay closer to patients during the day and there will be shorter waiting times for patients between arriving in hospital and going to theatre for their operation.
Day patients will come in on the day of surgery and will return to the unit following their operation until they are ready to go home. The unit will also look after patients coming in for complex investigations or treatment in the x-ray department.
Each patient will have a spacious waiting area, furnished with a comfortable chair, a trolley or recliner chair and space for one relative to wait with them. Accommodation will be arranged in single sex bays of up to four patients with en suite facilities for each bay. Some single rooms with en suite will be available and there will be consulting rooms for private conversations when required.
Dr Lucy White, consultant anaesthetist, said: "The new unit will mean that patients waiting for surgery will not need to wait on busy wards full of patients who have already had surgery. By taking these patients off the main wards, it will be possible to deliver care more quickly and improve their chances of getting home on the same day."
Planned emergency care will also be developed through the unit. If a patient has a simple broken bone that requires fixation, a fractured jaw that requires surgery, or a simple general surgical problem, such as an abscess that requires drainage, the patient will be discharged from the emergency department or the emergency surgical service and brought back the next day for a planned slot on an emergency list.
This will greatly improve the experience of patients who are not a true emergency, but who cannot be added to an elective waiting list.
Dr White added: "This is an exciting project that will combine an enhanced patient experience with clinical excellence and will take UHS forward as a leading institution in the UK for ultra short length of stay following planned surgery."