A MAJOR refurbishment of St Mary's Hospital emergency department is to be carried out over the next six months.
Parts of the department will be closed off while the works are carried out, however, health bosses pledged today (Tuesday) to keep disruption to a minimum and say facilities will be improved as a result.
Once the refurbishment works are completed, there will be an increased number of beds for patients with non-life threatening injuries, an additional resuscitation bay and new facilities for patients who need stitches or plaster casts, a spokesman said.
Donna Collins, an associate director at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said: "This is an exciting development that will unquestionably improve facilities and services for our patients.
"We are working closely with contractors to ensure that disruption to patients is minimal and the majority of the work is being carried out by Island firms who will work extended hours to ensure the work is completed as soon as possible.
"It may be noisy at times during the day which is unavoidable, but this will avoid disruption at night by the contractors.
"We ask the public to bear with us and consider carefully if they really need to come to the emergency department.
"Around 50,000 patients are seen at the department each year, and of these last year, 9,174 received no significant treatment and could therefore have been seen by their own GP, pharmacy or the Beacon Centre."
The refurbishment is being carried out following the designation of St Mary's Hospital as a trauma unit, to provide care for all but the most severe major trauma injuries.
Those patients will be transferred to the nearest major trauma centre, Southampton General Hospital, as they are currently.
The trust's clinical lead, Robin Beal said: "The six month period of disruption is necessary to provide significantly improved facilities for the care of those patients who are acutely ill or undergone traumatic injury. Fortunately, the result will give us a department designed to improve the observation of patients and more space to deal with the ever increasing demand."
*It was initially reported that some patients would be seen in temporary buildings. This was incorrect, the temporary buildings will be used for staff changing and office space, according to a St Mary's Hospital spokeswoman.