Hospital to get £1m revamp

PUBLISHED: 12:52 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 14:07 10 May 2010

MORE than £1 million is to be spent modernising Saffron Walden Community Hospital s (SWCH) largest ward. West Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) agreed the funding after the hospital s Avocet ward was described as no longer fit for purpose in a recent inspe

MORE than £1 million is to be spent modernising Saffron Walden Community Hospital's (SWCH) largest ward.

West Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) agreed the funding after the hospital's Avocet ward was described as no longer 'fit for purpose' in a recent inspection.

Secretary of the League of Friends of SWCH, Dorothy Bartlett, said: "This refurbishment will make a huge difference to the hospital and to the patients who use it."

Building work to completely refit the Avocet ward, at the hospital site on Radwinter Road, is due to begin on Monday and is expected to last for five months.

The Patient Environment Action Team inspections, reported to the PCT board in March, highlighted the ward as failing to meet standards for infection control and patients' privacy and dignity.

Communications officer at the PCT, Jonathan Morrell, said: "The ward was built in 1976 and its facilities need to be brought up to scratch. The work will ensure that patients can be looked after in a safe and modern environment."

The PCT agreed a total of £1.3 million to fund the work at a public board meeting held at St Margaret's Hospital, Epping, on June 19.

"The Avocet ward caters mainly for elderly patients from Saffron Walden who have recently returned from hospital at Addenbrooke's, Cambridge, or the Princess Alexandra, Harlow, and prepares them for returning home," said Mrs Bartlett. "It is a great resource to have in the community."

While the work on the Avocet ward is being carried out, a temporary facility in Ferguson Close will accommodate nine patients.

Key work will include reducing 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, such as Clostridium difficile, to be segregated and will also enhance patients' privacy.

The Avocet ward, which can currently accommodate 22 patients, will lose one bed after the refurbishment has been completed.

The League of Friends of SWCH will contribute £75,000 to pay for a tracking and hoist system in the ward which will allow staff to move patients safely and comfortably.

"We have been raising money throughout the year and also we were left some money in the will of a Saffron Walden lady," said Mrs Bartlett. "We regularly receive letters of appreciation and donations from patients who were cared for at the hospital.

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