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New Covid-19 rapid assessment and treatment area now open

Patients with Covid-19 can now be treated in specialist facilities after the opening of a new rapid assessment and treatment area at West Suffolk Hospital.

The 10-bed facility at our Bury St Edmunds hospital opened on Monday, and features separate treatment rooms specifically designed to allow for isolation of patients with Covid-19 or other infectious conditions.

The extension of the emergency department also includes a new dedicated resuscitation area and "negative pressure" facilities to help make treatments that might involve the spread of aerosol droplets - which can spread Covid-19 and other diseases - safer.

Since the start of the pandemic, patients with Covid or suspected Covid have been treated separately from other emergency department patients, with the new area offering even greater protection for patients.

The new area has been made possible by a £2.7m Government grant, that has seen office and storage areas relocated elsewhere in the hospital.

A second phase of improvements aimed at improving the transfer of patients arriving by ambulance is now underway. It will include space for up to eight patients, two treatment rooms, and changing and rest facilities for staff. This expanded facility is due to open in the summer.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust director of resources Craig Black said: "While we are seeing levels of Covid-19 in the community beginning to fall, we still have new patients arriving every day with this very serious disease.

"The space is fully flexible, so we can also safely use this extra assessment space for other patients attending our emergency department."

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The new rapid assessment and treatment area

The new rapid assessment and treatment area