A SPECIAL guest was at Basingstoke Hospital to officially open a newly-extended unit.

Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson performed the honours for the Ambulatory Care Unit today.

He was met by the mayor and mayoress of Basingstoke and Deane, Councillors Paul and Jane Frankum, alongside Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Elizabeth Padmore, chair of the trust; and Felicity Greene, chief executive of North Hampshire Urgent Care, based at Basingstoke Hospital.

Speaking at the event, as he cut the ribbon to the new unit and unveiled the plaque, Mr Atkinson praised the innovation of Hampshire Hospitals and the dedication of the staff at the trust.

The idea for the unit was conceived over three years ago by consultant Dr Tanuj Lad and his team, who developed the idea of providing same day medical assessment and discharge for patients who may otherwise have been admitted through the emergency department or acute assessment unit, to improve patient flow through the hospital, as well as improving patients’ experience and the outcome of their care.

Also speaking at the event, Dr Lad said: “The unit has trebled in size since it was first opened, allowing us to provide outstanding care and create capacity around the hospital. I’d like to thank our patients for the excellent feedback they provided for unit, it allowed us to keep them at the centre of the unit’s development.”

Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital first provided ambulatory care in December 2015, and would typically see an average of 40 patients a month.

The model proved to be so successful that in January 2017, building commenced to provide an extension, enabling the hospital to see an average of 250 to 300 patients a month in the new unit.

Elizabeth Padmore, chairman of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “It’s the vision of our clinicians such as Dr Lad and the hard work of his team and all of our staff, that mean we can continue to implement developments like this, that help us to improve patient care, which is at the heart of everything we do."

“I’d like to thank and congratulate all of the staff for their continued hard work in opening and running the unit.”