Vistamatic solutions installed at Sunderland Royal Hospital

Vision panels and Smart Glass products used in major new redevelopment project

Sunderland Royal Hospital’s ageing emergency department was in desperate need of a multi-million-pound revamp.

Details of the changes were first unveiled in 2013 when trust bosses admitted the facility needed updating and hospital chiefs revealed admissions had risen between 7-8% between 2013-14, far above the national average of 3-5%.

It is hoped the new five-story development will alleviate pressure on the hospital’s A&E department.

Issues such as having to deal with a broader range of health issues, an ageing population, and a shortage of doctors willing to work in A&E had all contributed to the increase in admissions.

The redesigned areas provide a new, improved arrival point, reception and waiting areas, assessment, consultation and treatment areas, specialist rooms for resuscitation, isolation, X-ray, ultra-sound, scanning, high dependency, laboratories and a pharmacy. The development also includes a dedicated paediatric emergency department.

The £18m project was completed in three phases, beginning with the refurbishment of two existing wards and an extension to the front of the building to provide the new paediatric emergency department entrance.

The second phase saw the refurbishment of the existing emergency department and a new three-storey extension added to the front of the building.

During this phase the newly-refurbished paediatric area was used as a temporary emergency department.

Phase 3 will included the construction of a glazed entrance canopy, with the adult emergency department temporarily providing emergency care for all patients.

A spokesman for City Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “The new emergency department at Sunderland Royal will be one of the most-advanced units in the region offering patients the highest quality of emergency department technology and staffing.

“The existing department at Sunderland Royal received over 127,000 attendances during 2013-14 – the new unit will meet the demands of ever-increasing patient numbers and the pressures of the growing elderly population.”

Vistamatic standard vision panels were installed as part of the work under a supply-only contract.

Open/close vision screens were used in the entrance doors to the wards for the benefit of the hospital staff, enabling them to observe patients while minimising the disruption to the other ward users.

Vistamatic also supplied its Smart Glass for the treatment rooms. When the rooms are unoccupied, the glass is clear. But, when a doctor or nurse occupies the room with a patient they can activate the glass so it becomes instantly opaque, providing immediate privacy.

Woodtech Joinery, based in Middlesbrough, specified Vistamatic for the project due to the previous experience they’d had working with them.

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