A PROJECT to improve the John Radcliffe Hospital’s A&E has got the go-ahead and should be complete by spring 2020.

The two-storey extension, unveiled earlier this year, will include eight new treatment bays, along with a paediatric resuscitation room, a CT scanner, a nurse base and bereavement rooms.

Hospital bosses have said the work will make treatment more efficient for the 100,000 patients who use the JR’s A&E services every year.

Larry Fitton, emergency department consultant at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is great news not only for Oxford University Hospitals but for the whole region we cover as an emergency department.

“The expansion of our emergency department is vital to ensure that high-quality care is delivered to our patients in the right time and in the right environment.”

The plan, which also includes moving six ambulance bays to a point outside the A&E department and covering them with a steel canopy, was submitted in July.

In April, health bosses apologised after the number of patients forced to wait in A&E department for 12 hours or more increased last winter.

As part of the improvement scheme, both bus shelters near the A&E department will be removed and relocated.

Charmaine Hope, head of capital and architectural practice at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are extremely pleased that Oxford City Council has granted planning permission for this extension to our emergency department.

“It is a significant building project with many complex elements, but on its completion, it should benefit the whole community.”

Earlier this year, Oxfordshire County Council’s highways department had raised doubts about the impact of the planned road project to accompany the A&E improvements.

But following other work, it withdrew its objection and is now happy for the work to proceed.

When the plan was unveiled in the summer, Ross Cornett, South Central Ambulance Service’s acting head of operations, said: “We welcome and fully support the expansion project at the John Radcliffe's emergency department and thank colleagues at the hospital for involving us in this exciting development.

“The new facilities will speed up the safe handover of our patients to colleagues in the emergency department, allowing ambulances to return to active duty considerably quicker so that we can respond to the next patient sooner.”

The plan got the unanimous support of Oxford City Council’s East Area planning committee on Wednesday. Eight public comments were sent to the authority in support of the application.

The Headington Planning Group was also supportive of the project – but it ‘raised concerns about the adequacy for bus access and parking’, according to documents.