Construction work has begun on a new children’s assessment unit at Dewsbury and District Hospital.
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust hopes the facility – costing nearly £800,000 – will give support to the neighbouring A&E department and mean young patients are diagnosed more quickly.
The 24-hour unit in the Ridings Building will include three single ensuite rooms, a five-bed bay and two consulting rooms that can be used for treating young babies and patients with potentially infectious diseases.
Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Simon Reevell joined trust staff and architect Mike Dunwoody on Monday to cut the turf as teams from Dewsbury-based Walter West Builders got to work.
Consultant paediatrician Dr Karen Stone said: “This will be a great addition to the excellent services already provided in Dewsbury.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for us to design and develop a new area for children, complementing the existing facilities at Dewsbury, that is right for the children of North Kirklees.
“We expect the majority of our patients to need a quick diagnosis and treatment without the need for an admission – and the new unit will be able to offer a great service.
“Where a child’s condition is more serious we will be able to make a quick assessment, stabilise them and get them to the appropriate specialist unit for heir ongoing care.”
The unit, which is due to open in late spring, is expected to see around 3,000 children each year.
Around 300 of those children are expected to need treatment for longer than 24 hours and could be transferred to other hospitals.
Referrals to the unit staffed by a specialist team of nurses and doctors will be made by health and social care professionals, including GPs and senior A&E doctors.
Dr David Kelly, clinical lead for North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We welcome this opportunity to further develop our excellent services for children in the Dewsbury area.
“It is most important that children receive the right care when they need it in the right place – quicker access to specialists and diagnostics will help to avoid the need for unnecessary admission to hospital and overnight stays where clinically appropriate. “