New outpatients department will open in Barnstaple on Monday

THE first phase in the �23.5 million refurbishment of local healthcare services is to be unveiled on Monday with the opening of the new Outpatients Department in Barnstaple. The �2 million facility at North Devon District Hospital will host a range of med

THE first phase in the �23.5 million refurbishment of local healthcare services is to be unveiled on Monday with the opening of the new Outpatients Department in Barnstaple.

The �2 million facility at North Devon District Hospital will host a range of medical and surgical clinics and is half again as large as the previous outpatients unit, allowing for a centralised reception, improved waiting areas and more treatment and consulting rooms.

It is part of a refurbishment programme for the whole of Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, which has said it will prove crucial in helping to reduce waiting times in the future.

Each year sees an increasing number of patients use the outpatients service, with an average of 2,000 per month attending more than 30 types of clinic. The trust believes the increased space and flexible room layout will allow staff to provide an improved service whilst keeping waiting lists down. It will also provide the space to run extra clinics during busy months.


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In future, the trust plans to introduce a number of enhancements to the outpatient service, including more nurse-led outpatient sessions, expansion of pre-assessment clinics and the transfer of some appropriate minor procedures from day surgery theatre.

"The Outpatient department is usually the first department a patient uses after being referred by their GP, said Sharon Bates, General Manager for Patient Access.

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"Getting the environment right and working closely with all services that support outpatients, such as x-ray, blood testing and so on, means we can work better together to ensure patients receive an efficient and caring service from us.

"Our staff and patients have helped us design this new department and we are very pleased with the result as it will provide a pleasant environment for everyone who uses it."

The second phase of the outpatients project is due for completion in August and will see additional clinic, treatment and examination rooms and phlebotomy rooms opening to add to the capacity of the service.

Meanwhile, work has now started on refurbishing part of the original outpatients, which is being cleared for use by other departments.

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