Construction is due to begin at Barnsley Hospital in October on a new co-located Emergency Department (ED) and Assessment Unit for children.

The new build Children’s Assessment Unit (CAU) and children’s ED will be constructed on the front of the current Emergency Department and will also see a 50% increase in adult bays within the department.

The existing ED was designed for around 150 patients a day while the Trust currently sees attendances in excess of 300 per day. The new scheme is aligned with regional and national ambitions to ‘future-proof’ local hospital services.

The plan is in line with the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Hospital Services Review which recommends that every hospital site in the region should have facilities to care for children. This includes all EDs being equipped to receive children and all sites having a Paediatric Assessment Unit.

Currently, Barnsley has a children’s assessment unit and ward area which is separate to the children’s emergency department. The new plans will see staff caring for children in two areas of the hospital instead of three, meaning more time can be spent with patients and less time walking between departments for both patients and staff.

The new development will see an increased amount of space for the children’s emergency department and the children’s assessment unit in a co-located new building so that teams can work much more closely together in brand new facilities which will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There will also be a new ambulance entrance and associated engineering works for traffic management due to the placement of the new building on the front of the current emergency department.

Ben Brewis, Barnsley Hospital’s Deputy Director of Operations, said:

“Regionally, 85% of children stay in hospital for less than 48 hours with many needing less than a 24-hour stay. These children are often admitted to an inpatient paediatric unit. However, a significant number of them might most appropriately be seen in a CAU/observation/short stay unit.

“Bringing together the children’s emergency department and children’s assessment unit into a co-located integrated model will deliver a better patient experience for children and families accessing urgent care. It will also improve privacy and dignity for ED patients and allow our paediatric and emergency department teams to work together more closely.”