A HOSPITAL unit has marked a decade of providing essential emergency support.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital's medical assessment unit (MAU) was set up to ensure patients received the most appropriate treatment as soon as possible and to reduce pressure - and waiting times - on the accident and emergency department.

Staff and patients marked its 10th birthday last week with a party at the unit.

Patient numbers at the MAU have risen from 6,024 in its first year to 7,287 in 2010/11.

MAU manager Judy Ophield said: "Over the years the department has seen many changes and our staff have adjusted and adapted to continue to provide first class care for our patients.

"Thursday was a celebration of the 10 years since we first opened and how far we have come."