Patients support hospital revamp
A TOWN's new-look hospital has won praise from civic leaders and patients – despite its bed numbers being cut.
A key phase of the £1.1 million makeover of Leek Moorlands Hospital was unveiled this week as part of a programme to bring the centre into the 21st century.
Its big community wards with rows of beds are being replaced by small cosy bays with more light, comfort and privacy.
But five of the beds are having to vanish after experts found them so close together that they breached infection control rules.
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As the hospital's minor injuries unit, outpatients' department and therapy rooms were opened, health officials spoke of their aim to take pressure off the overstretched University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
The refurbishment of the hospital's two wards, Saddler and Cottage, will be completed by the end of March to bring new flooring, utility rooms, sanitary areas and improved walk-in showers.
This week's opening ceremony was performed by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council leader Sybil Ralphs who earlier this year won guarantees from health officials that the hospital had a future despite claims it faced being scaled down.
She said: "I am delighted to be asked to do this, as we are very fortunate in the Moorlands to have such a wonderful hospital providing some of the very best services."
Sara Taylor, of Cheddleton, whose nine-year-old son Zach was being treated in the minor injuries unit for an eye injury, added: "We were obviously very worried, but so pleased with the service we received from the staff who treated and reassured us quickly.
"The new facilities are excellent and it's great to have such a unit on our doorstep."
The minor injuries unit sees 18,250 patients a year and new facilities include a triage room, two consulting rooms and a treatment room.
In the outpatients' department, four consulting rooms and a supportive therapies room have been developed and next month will see a further five consulting rooms and a treatment room open.
Other improvements include a new dining room for staff, an extended X-ray department with a separate area for ultrasound activity and a refurbished physiotherapy department.
The hospital is run by Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust.
Its chairman Professor Nigel Ratcliffe said: "Leek Moorlands Hospital is a vital organ in the lives of so many people in our district.
"In particular, residents need to be aware of our minor injuries unit and the services it can provide."