Croydon University Hospital has been given the green light to redevelop its accident and emergency department after the plans were approved by the NHS.

The build is expected to take just over a year and come at a cost of £21.25m.

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It has been agreed by the NHS Trust Development Authority and final paperwork will now go to the Department of Health for approval.

Specialist emergency doctors and nurses have been inspired by the best A&E departments from around the country when coming up with the design.

It will:

• Be a third of the size bigger than the current facility.

• Be bright, modern and purpose-built to offer a better care environment for patients and frontline staff.

• Give clinicians clear sight of their patients through an open-plan design to improve safety and care.

• Have sub-waiting areas so that patients will move forward through the department during treatment rather than returning to a main communal waiting area.

• Have doors rather than curtains on all ‘majors’ cubicles (the beds where people are treated) to improve patient privacy and dignity.

The facility will address many of the issues raised by the Care Quality Commission during an inspection in 2013 which found it to be badly designed, in a poor state of repair and too small to treat the current number of patients it regularly sees.

It will consist of 28 adult ‘majors’ emergency bays, a dedicated eight-bay children’s emergency department with its own reception and waiting area, a larger resuscitation unit and an urgent care centre for more minor ailments and illnesses.

One of the key figures in the clinical design process was Dr Kathryn Channing, the lead clinician for emergency medicine at Croydon University Hospital who has been a consultant there for more than 10 years.

Dr Channing said: “This is an important step forward in our plans for Croydon Hospital.

“This bigger, brighter, state-of-the-art facility will give people in Croydon and our staff the high-quality facility to match the high standards of care we work hard to provide. “This will help to change the perception of the hospital.

“Croydon deserves a high-quality emergency department.

“The absolute dedication of the team at the Trust means our performance has largely stayed on track – but we are constrained by the current building and environment.”

The current Emergency Department in Croydon sees more than 120,000 patients a year – almost twice the number of patients the unit was originally built for in the 1980s.

Croydon Health Services NHS Trust chief executive John Goulston said: “These plans represent one of the biggest improvements to come to the NHS in Croydon in a generation.

“The approval from the NHS TDA is a big step forward and is the result of many months of work by Trust clinicians and managers to develop the plans for a new emergency department that will serve the people of Croydon for decades to come.”

Works are expected to begin quickly this year, with the new facility opening in Spring 2017.

A full emergency department will continue to operate at Croydon University Hospital throughout the construction.