The £30 million expansion of the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton has been approved by planners.
The scheme includes a new 70-bed Short Stay Unit to care for surgical and medical patients who need to be admitted to hospital for 48 hours or less.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex, said: “The new unit is the largest part of a £30 million programme to improve accident and emergency care at the hospital.
“It will be housed over two floors in an extension of the existing A&E building, above the department’s ambulance and car drop-off area.
“The building will stand on columns to allow access for vehicles and pedestrians to the front door of A&E.”
The plans were approved at a meeting of the Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee at Hove Town Hall this afternoon (Wednesday 13 September).
Some councillors had reservations about the design of the extension, in particular the metal mesh on the outside.
The hospital trust’s managing director Evelyn Barker said: “Patient care is our first priority and consideration in everything we do.
“Over the coming years we will be genuinely improving what patients experience when they come to A&E.
“Today’s decision allows us to push ahead with the key to all the planned improvements, our new Short Stay Unit.
“Along with the development of an Ambulatory Care Unit within the existing A&E building, it will give us an improved range of options for diagnosing and treating patients.
“Perhaps most importantly for patient experience, the Short Stay Unit will streamline how we admit patients and reduce the pressure on other wards in the hospital.
“The extra capacity will make it much easier to get patients to the right bed, in the right department, at the right time.”
In addition to the A&E building extension, the Royal Sussex is currently undergoing a £485 million modernisation.
The modernisation, known as the 3Ts programme, is due to be completed in 2024.