Major expansion plans for A&E in Oxford 'pose no threat' to Horton

A render image of the proposed emergency department extension at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Photo: Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
A render image of the proposed emergency department extension at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Photo: Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

A planning application to expand A&E at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford has been submitted - and the trust says it poses no threat to the Horton General Hospital.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's plans to build an extension to the emergency department will allow an extra eight bays for the immediate care of seriously ill patients.

The new space will also include a paediatric resuscitation room and an isolation room with an adjacent CT scanner and control room as well as a nurses’ bay and improved bereavement and relatives’ rooms.

A better use of space, more diagnostic equipment, and improved privacy for patients as well as improved turn around times for ambulances are touted as the benefits of the scheme, which is expected to be completed by spring 2020.

A trust spokesman said the expansion plans in no way threaten the future of the A&E in Banbury but will 'improve and strengthen urgent and emergency care for all Oxfordshire residents'.

JR emergency department clinical lead Dr Larry Fitton said: “Due to the growing population in our area, an expansion of our emergency department is vital to ease the pressure on our services caused by increased numbers of patients and to ensure that high-quality care is delivered to them.

“It is a significant building project with many complex elements, but on its completion, it should benefit the whole community.

“I am also very pleased that the new facility will provide improved bereavement and relatives’ rooms which will be better placed to give families more privacy at an incredibly difficult time.

"A dedicated CT scanner will enable us to get the diagnosis of critically ill patients far more quickly.”

As a part of the expansion project, six ambulances spaces will be created and a more efficient drop off point will be set up at the entrance of the new building.

Ross Cornett, head of operations (acting) for Oxfordshire at South Central Ambulance Service, said: “We welcome and fully support the expansion project at the John Radcliffe emergency department and thank colleagues at the hospital for involving us in this exciting development.

“The new facilities will speed up the safe handover of our patients to colleagues in the emergency department, allowing ambulances to return to active duty considerably quicker so that we can respond to the next patient sooner.”

The project will be carried out in different phases subject to planning approval by Oxford City Council, with early enabling works hoped to begin in the autumn and the major building work starting by the end of this year.