WAITING lists for the assessment of elderly people who have been treated in hospital are set to fall with the opening of a new unit.
On Monday a new Rapid Assessment Unit is opening at Havant Health Centre, meaning patients who need to be checked over following a hospital stay will no longer have to travel to St Mary’s Hospital, in Milton, Portsmouth.
The move is taking place 18 months ahead of schedule after space was made available in the health centre.
Councillor David Keast, a member of Hampshire County Council’s health, overview and scrutiny committee, said: ‘This is very, very good news because we didn’t expect this for at least another year.
‘It means the seriousness of people’s conditions will be assessed much earlier than it has been previously.
‘It is a very valuable facility and is something that came out of the public consultations following the cancellation of the original Oak Park Hospital.
‘There is a real need here for this.’
The majority of patients who are seen at St Mary’s live in the Havant and Fareham area.
Fareham patients will be transferred to the Gosport War Memorial Hospital where the existing Rapid Assessment Service has been expanded.
The smaller number of Portsmouth patients will receive the care they need from the Amulree Unit which is next to the Trevor Howell Unit at St Mary’s Hospital.
Inger Hebden, director of capital planning for NHS Hampshire, said: ‘After lots of discussions with local people we developed plans to bring local NHS services to the Havant area.
‘This included redeveloping the Oak Park Children’s Services Centre so the services could have a suitable base.
‘Since this decision we have looked at existing health premises in the local area and Havant Health Centre is able to provide a suitable temporary home for the Rapid Assessment Unit.
‘This is great as instead of waiting for the redevelopment work we can bring this service to local people much earlier then expected.’
All patients currently seen at St Mary’s will receive a letter explaining the move and detailing where they will now receive their treatment.
Call (023) 9286 6352 if you do not receive a letter.