WORK has started on £1.1million upgrade of Yeovil Hospital's A&E department.

The work will double the capacity of the Emergency Department's critical services, such as those for children with urgent mental health issues.

Last year, nearly 60,000 people visited A&E and the number is steadily increasing. And so this devlopment will help to reduce pressure throughout the hospital, by reducing the need for some patients to be admitted.

Consultant and clinical director of the Emergency Department, Dr Jon Tipping, said: “With the number of patients attending the department increasing every year, it was clear we needed to redesign the space. This work now underway will not only increase capacity, it will also make the department a better place to receive care and provide care.

“The team have worked exceptionally hard during the pandemic to continue providing safe access to emergency services, so to see the new department take shape is a real boost.”

The work will double the number of cubicles for assessment and treatment, as well as create a dedicated facility where children with mental health needs can be safely cared for.

The front of the department is also being redesigned to provide seperate exits for arriving and leaving.

The work is set o be completed early in the summer.

These developments are the second stage in a programme of improvement to the hospital’s urgent care services. Phase one, completed in December, saw the creation of a new Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit (AEC), reducing the need for patients to be admitted for certain tests and treatment and reducing demand on ED and wards.