New-look ward reopens after major facelift

PUBLISHED: 10:51 23 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:38 31 May 2010

THE new-look ward at Saffron Walden Community Hospital which has benefitted from more than £1.1 million investment has been officially unveiled. West Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) agreed the funding in July after the hospital s largest ward, Avocet Ward,

THE new-look ward at Saffron Walden Community Hospital which has benefitted from more than £1.1 million investment has been officially unveiled.

West Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) agreed the funding in July after the hospital's largest ward, Avocet Ward, was described as no longer "fit for purpose" in an inspection.

Now though, the ward - which caters mainly for elderly patients who have returned from other hospitals and prepares them to return home - has undergone a complete makeover to pep up its tired appearance and to fall in line with standards.

Alongside the huge PCT funding came more than £50,000 donated by the hospital's League of Friends for overhead hoists and other equipment.

The relaunch of the ward, which first opened in 1976, marks a major improvement in community in-patient hospital facilities.

The hospital's modern matron Julie Shearsby said: "This major investment by NHS West Essex and the wonderful support of the League of Friends will make a big difference to our patients.

"It means we will be able to care for them in a modern environment with more space, enhancing their privacy and dignity, and supporting more effective infection control.

"Other benefits will be state of the art equipment, including piped oxygen."

Key works of the refurbishment - which has taken just over five months to complete - includes a reduction in the number of patient bays and the creation of five single rooms with en suite facilities.

The new enclosed bays will allow patients with infections to be segregated and will also enhance patients' privacy.

The ward has also lost one bed, from its original 22, as a substitute for the extra space.

Secretary of the League of Friends of SWCH, Dorothy Bartlett, said: "This hospital means a great deal to me and too many people in the area. It is thought a great deal of, as are the staff and doctors.

"This refurbishment will make a huge difference to the hospital and to the patients who use it and it is a wonderful thing."

Patients are due to move into the ward this week.

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