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New unit opens its doors for business

September 8, 2004

New unit opens its doors for business

From Thursday 9th September some patients seen at Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) who would normally be admitted to a ward may find themselves in the new short stay 20 bed Acute Assessment Unit (AAU). The AAU enables patients to be assessed early and start to receive appropriate treatment within the shortest period of time.

The average length of stay is expected to be 12 hours, with a maximum length of stay of 23 hours.

Says Chris Clarke, chief executive officer “Whilst the AAU has been operating since mid-May from the 4th floor of our ward block, we are taking a significant step forward with this move. We are now fulfilling the vision we had – of positioning our most senior clinicians at the front door and delivering improved clinical management with the co-location of acute and diagnostic services. The AAU will enable us to assess to admit patients, rather than admitting to assess.

“The opening of the AAU does not mean an increase in the total number of beds at Hawke’s Bay Hospital, rather we are looking to use the beds we have more efficiently and effectively and thereby assist the management of acute demand” says Mr Clarke.

The AAU is one of a number of developments underway in and around the ED on the Hastings campus. In June pharmacy staff moved into their new premises at the Canning Road end of the building. In tandem with the opening of AAU patients arriving at ED will enter through a new entranceway (adjacent to the old ED entrance) into an improved and expanded reception and waiting area.

Work continues ‘behind the scenes’ to complete improvements within the emergency department including new triage facilities, a step down resuscitation area and staff facilities. The new renal dialysis unit is expected to be operational late October.

Says Mr Clarke “While we are very proud of our new facilities, and I am sure people would like to see them, the overriding objective of the AAU is to keep people out of hospital. At the moment we are full to capacity looking after some very sick people and I would encourage people to visit their GP first unless it is an emergency.”

As always the public are reminded the emergency department should be used for emergencies only. Patients feeling unwell should in the first instance visit their GP or medical center.

The final part of the redevelopment, in the area above the AAU, includes a new library and education centre planned for completion early next year in time for the arrival of the first teaching DHB medical students.


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