WARD changes are underway at the John Radcliffe to help the under-pressure hospital keep up with demand.

The £1.4m move by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Headington site, is designed to create more treatment spaces for patients and improve the flow of patients through the Emergency Department.

It follows work already being done to extend the JR's Emergency Department, which is due to be complete by April.

The changes within the existing hospital will create extra ambulatory care spaces for patients, including treatment spaces, sitting areas, and waiting areas.

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There will also be a new ambulatory unit 'supporting medicine, surgery, and vascular triage' in one space.

Ambulatory care offers medical assessment, treatment, and care to people without the need to be admitted to hospital.

Overall, the trust anticipates the project will help patients receive care more quickly, especially in the hospital’s busy Emergency Department, which has been under heavy pressure since last summer due to high demand and long-term staff shortages.

The project was funded by a successful bid for capital funding from NHS England and NHS Improvement.

By locating the new ambulatory unit next to the Day Hospital at the John Radcliffe, the trust says it will be able to maximise the use of the space for its patients.

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As the Day Hospital is only open during the daytime, its facilities will be available for patients in the unit out of hours, including consulting rooms, a gym, and a large waiting area.

The first phase of the project will be open to patients from the spring.

The £13m Emergency Department extension , meanwhile,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.

Charmaine Hope, Director of Capital Development at the trust, said: “This work is now well underway and is a big step to improving our clinical facilities.

“One of the key drivers for the moves is to increase ambulatory capacity to support moving our patients through our Emergency Department – by providing extra ambulatory care beds, we’ll be able to treat more patients there and then as opposed to them being admitted to a hospital bed or waiting around for treatment."

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She added: “Our clinical areas will be greatly enhanced, and the project will improve the environment and experience for both our patients and staff. We’ve been working hard to minimise the disruption to our patients and staff, and we’re really grateful for their patience.”

Katy Mimpress, Matron of the Emergency Department at the John Radcliffe Hospital, added: "We are delighted that this work is underway.

"The new space will be a great improvement for our patients and for our staff to work in, and importantly, we can see and start treating patients more quickly."