skip to main content

New look Ambulatory Care Unit officially opened

26 November 2018


A unit which helps patients receive care quickly while reducing pressure in A&E and preventing unnecessary admissions was officially opened at the James Paget University Hospital today, Monday 26 November.

The expanded Ambulatory Care Unit was opened by Professor Keith Willett CBE, the Medical Director for Acute Care and Emergency Preparedness for NHS England.


Professor Keith Willett CBE cuts the ribbon to formally open the unit. 


Ambulatory care is an outpatient service which brings healthcare teams to the patient and is nationally recognised as an effective way of delivering safe care for an increasing number of conditions, while improving patient experience.

It allows patients to receive diagnosis, observation, consultation, treatment services in one area of the hospital – and is designed to be a ‘one stop shop’ for patients, improving the efficiency of their care, reducing their time in hospital and preventing admissions.

An Ambulatory Care Unit was established in the hospital in 2015 and quickly saw a huge increase in activity – a 37% rise in one year alone. The old unit was designed to support 20 patients per day but sometimes had to cater for double the number it was designed for.

Now, Ambulatory Care is being delivered from a brand-new, purpose-built facility which is double the size of the old unit – and can see three times as many patients.

The unit consists of:

  • Six single treatment rooms
  • An IV room
  • GP referral assessment area
  • Point of Care Testing (POCT) room, which includes equipment which can provide diagnostic blood test results within five minutes.
  • Reception area/nurses station
  • Waiting area (accommodates up to 30 people)

 After the opening, Professor Willett said:

“The new unit will mean that people can get treated for a number of sudden illnesses, helping patients get safely home where possible on the same day. It will be key to avoiding unnecessary admissions to hospital wards, particularly for older people, and help us prepare as we head into the winter period.”

The new unit was created with input from Trust staff, including Ambulatory Nurse Practitioner Karen Foden, who said that the enhanced facilities were already having a positive impact.

“We’re really proud of the new facilities,” she said. “We are now able to see more patients than before, in far more comfortable surroundings. This is positive all round as it means more patients have a better experience as they are seen more quickly, by the right staff in the right place, which in turn helps reduce pressure in our Emergency Department and on our bed capacity in the hospital.”

Professor Willett was joined by Deputy Chief Executive Anna Hills and Medical Director Dr Hazel Stuart at the official opening, which comes two months after the new-look unit saw its first patients.

The creation of the new unit is part of a multi-phase plan to transform the hospital’s Emergency Department, to help meet patient demand. Other work completed includes the provision of GP streaming consultation rooms in A&E and a new children’s waiting area as well as the creation of a new Operations Room and Discharge Hub.



Professor Willett with James Paget Deputy Chief Executive Anna Hills.