Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital

Published: 22 March 2021

New temporary entrance to RD&E Emergency Department as major improvement project progresses

A major transformation of the Emergency Department (ED) at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E) at Wonford gets under way from 22 March, as a new temporary entrance opens to allow the current ED reception and waiting areas to be rebuilt.

Patients attending the ED will now come in through the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre (PEOC) entrance, where additional waiting and short-term parking facilities will also be provided. Ambulances will also come in via a different route, in a separately phased construction scheme.

This is part of an ambitious two year project to renew and expand the facilities at the RD&E in a £20m investment.

The Emergency Department at the RD&E sees around 104,000 patients a year. This is an increase of around 25 per cent since the last time the department’s buildings saw major changes.

The RD&E is now undertaking a major rebuild and reconfiguration project to make the ED fit for its current and future use, which will deliver significant improvements to the department’s performance, safety and patient comfort.

All of the works will be phased to allow for the continued operation of the existing facilities, while both of the existing emergency department main entrances will be temporarily relocated to ensure they remain accessible for patients, visitors and staff.

Suzanne Tracey, Chief Executive of the RD&E, said: “This is a hugely significant project for the RD&E, and I’m delighted that we have been able to continue with delivering progress on this major investment during the incredibly challenging year we have all experienced.

“These improvements to the Emergency Department at Wonford will help us to continue to deliver the very best patient care and comfort to the people of Devon, and it will be essential to helping in our recovery and renewal from the COVID pandemic.

“I want to thank our patients and the public in advance for their patience at this time while we make the temporary service and access changes we need to deliver this improvement with the minimum of disruption.”

Morgan Sindall Construction will work closely with the Trust to ensure minimal disruption to the hospital during the build process, which will be carried out in compliance with current coronavirus restrictions.

The new three-storey development will be located adjacent to the current building on Barrack Road. At 3,500 square metres, the building will enable the hospital to expand its clinical services with a state-of-the-art treatment environment. As a teaching hospital, it will also provide high-quality education and training space for future generations of medical students.

Inside will be eight new resuscitation bays, which will be served by a new plant room. There will also be a specialist children’s emergency department with paediatric bays, and a separate reception area, housing a larger waiting area with natural light.

The current fracture clinic will be relocated from the main building, and an operating theatre built in its place. There will also be a renewed specialist bereavement suite complete with tranquil garden space, offering privacy and comfort for families and loved ones.

Outside, there will be five additional ambulance bays to add extra emergency capacity. There are also plans for a new road configuration to help lower the response time for emergency vehicles.

Separate to the Emergency Department works, the main contractor has also been selected to deliver a new four-storey building to house a new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) plant room. The steel-framed building will be used to hold equipment including chillers and air handling units for heating and ventilation, which are vital to keeping the ICU running safely and efficiently.