AN extension to the emergency department at the John Radcliffe hospital is expected to be finished by April next year.

On Friday, hospital executives marked the end of bricklaying work at the new extension to Oxfordshire’s main accident and emergency site.

The £13million extension is being described as an improvement to the existing facilities, and is designed to make it faster to treat patients coming in, either by ambulance or on their own.

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Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery, chair of the OUH foundation trust, said the extension was being built to improve conditions for both patients and staff.

He said: “We have much more usage of our emergency department than we used to; there are 400 more patients a week than a year ago.”

Oxford Mail:

A total of 80 construction staff will be employed on the extension at the height of works. Pic: Ed Nix.

According to OUH NHS foundation trust figures, in 20116/17 there were 131,166 people who came through the doors of the emergency department.

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In 2017/18 this had risen to 135,964 -- the equivalent of 400 more people each week.

The extension will include 600sqm of extra clinical rooms, with nine extra bays for the care of seriously ill patients, a paediatric resuscitation room and an isolation room.

There is also a nurses’ bay and rooms for relatives and bereavements.

Professor Montgomery added: “[The extension] should all add up to people being seen more quickly an also deciding if they can go home or go elsewhere inside the hospital. If you are in a better environment you should feel better.

“It should just increase the efficiency of the service.”

A new CT scanner and a control room will be built for dedicated use within the emergency department, which means scans can be made without having to request help from another area of the hospital.

The Oxford Hospitals Charity paid for the new scanner, which cost £829,000, thanks to the gift of a plot of land left to the charity through a will in the 1980s.

Oxford Mail:

Pictured here with the foundation for the new scanner is Dr Douglas Graham CE of Oxford Hospitals Charity and hospital staff. Picture: Ed Nix.

The charity was able to develop the land, near Chinnor, into housing, which has not only helped to pay for the CT scanner, but will also be used to fund art and colour schemes in the new area.

These improvements will include calming light boxes in an area which used to have natural light before the extension was started, as well as ceiling tiles in bed bays, and sensitive decoration in bereavement areas.

Dr Douglas Graham, the chief executive of the Oxford Hospitals Charity said: “We are delighted to be part of this important development.

“This CT scanner could benefit tens of thousands of people for who knows how many years.”

A special T-shaped concrete plinth was built into the floor of the extension as a foundation for the 2.8 tonne scanner.

Stefan Caraba, construction manager at McLaughlin and Harvey, said the project was on schedule to be finished by April 2020.

The building firm then plans to move into the current emergency department for construction work which will link the two areas together.