A hospital is building a special unit for elderly patients ahead of winter and a possible second wave of coronavirus.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) has been given £400,000 by the Government for improvements.

The move comes as Boris Johnson granted NHS trusts across £300 million amid fears of a second Covid-19 wave later this year.

The trust will use the funding for a Frailty Short Stay Unit, an expansion of the current Frailty Assessment Unit.

Stephanie Lawton, chief operating officer at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, said: “This funding will enable us to expand our Frailty Assessment Unit at The Princess Alexandra Hospital for the winter, when we expect to see an increase in demand for our services.

“This is a great development for our patients and will support and enhance our frailty services, both in the hospital and across the health system. We are working jointly with primary care, health, social care and ambulance colleagues to improve patient experience.”

The Frailty Assessment Unit provides care for frail patients, generally those aged 75 years of age and above.

The unit is for short-stay patients, and helps avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital.

The move comes ahead of a possible second wave of coronavirus this winter.

The trust, which runs Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, was pushed to its capacity during the first wave’s peak and has so far recorded a total of 201 Covid-19 related deaths.

Hospital bosses will hope the new unit will help free up beds for more seriously ill patients by helping to process lesser cases efficiently.

The unit will be situated in the new Medical and Surgical Assessment Centre which is to be completed by December.

The new Medical and Surgical Assessment Centre will be a two-storey extension adjacent to the emergency department (ED) at the front of the hospital and next to Charnley Ward.

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