Care in the community

Hinchingbrooke s £6million emergency care centre, which has been operating since February after a seamless return of the accident and emergency department to its previous home, is now official. The centre, which also incorporates out-of-hours general prac

Hinchingbrooke's £6million emergency care centre, which has been operating since February after a seamless return of the accident and emergency department to its previous home, is now official.

The centre, which also incorporates out-of-hours general practitioner and mental health services and social services support, is expected to see 40,000 patients a year. It includes 15 private cubicles and is equipped to cope with both major and routine emergencies that cannot wait for routine surgery hours.

It was officially unveiled by Bernard Ribeiro, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, on a visit to the hospital last Friday to deliver a lecture to medical staff and to present awards to junior doctors.

Hospital trust chairman Sue Smith said it had been designed around doctors' and nurses' assessments of the needs of patients they treat 24 hours a day.

"A&E staff have significantly out-performed targets over the last three or four years," she said. "They have been involved in the design because they know what the patients need.

"The moves out (for the refurbishment) and back were made completely without interruption to the emergency service.

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