SOMERSET will benefit from more than £11 million of national health funding, the health and social care secretary Matt Hancock announced today (December 10).

The money will be spent on moving the surgical assessment unit at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton so it is closer to the hospital’s emergency department which will mean faster access to consultants and surgeons and quicker assessments for patients who may require emergency surgery.

Dr Rosie Benneyworth, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s (SCCG) director of strategic clinical Services Transformation, said: “We are delighted Somerset’s health and care system been successful in its bid for extra capital investment.

"Whilst the development of a new Acute Assessment Hub at Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital will be seen as a welcome injection of funds for the hospital and patients in need of rapid assessment and surgical treatment, today’s investment needs to be seen as part of our wider commitment to improve the quality of Somerset’s services and bring the best clinical outcome for patients.”

The £11 million investment will deliver a new acute assessment hub which will incorporate a new Surgical Admissions Unit (SAU) at the hospital.

The surgical admissions unit is currently located in World War II ‘nightingale’ style ward accommodation which SCCG says is unsuitable for modern standards of care and is some distance from the surgical operating theatres.

Patients admitted to the hospital can arrive from a number of different locations on the hospital site and SCCG says creating a ‘hub’ will significantly reduce the distance staff and patients have to travel around within the hospital. And they say it will lead to better working relationships and improved efficiency between the admitting teams in the hospital and improve patient safety and care by ensuring patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

Dr Stuart Walker, Chief Medical Officer for Musgrove Park Hospital, echoed Dr Bennyworth's comments and welcomed the news.

“This is great news for Somerset. This funding means that clinical teams in our surgical assessment unit will be located at the centre of the hospital so that patients requiring emergency surgery can get faster assessment, speedier treatment and improved outcomes as a result," Dr Walker said.

“Patients will have access to a broader range of clinical expertise in the one place, as a time when they need it most.”