South Scotland

New Dumfries hospital room mock-up goes on display

single room
Image caption Every patient admitted to the new Dumfries hospital will stay in a single room

A mock-up of a patient's room at the new Dumfries hospital has gone on display at the town's existing royal infirmary.

Every patient admitted to the new hospital will be treated in one of 344 single rooms with en suite bathrooms.

Senior medical staff claim it will reduce cross-infection and protect the privacy and dignity of patients.

However, critics have expressed concerns that long-term patients could become isolated.

Pictures show £270m hospital progress

Single hospital rooms - a good idea?

Margo Christie, NHS Dumfries and Galloway's associate nurse director, said the patients' rooms would be among the largest in any Scottish hospital.

"What that means is that a lot of treatment and therapies that are not currently carried out in the room can actually be carried out here," she added.

"For example when patients are needing to try using the stairs either post operatively or after an episode of care, then that can be done in here rather than taking them out into what are actually busy stairwells.

"But also physiotherapy and occupational health interventions that are currently carried out in the department can now be carried out in the room."

Image caption Each room will have its own en suite facilities

There will also be computers in each room so medical staff can immediately update a patients' notes.

Instead of having one nursing station on a ward, there will be seven stations - each responsible for a maximum of four patients.

A new nurse call system will be introduced, which will allow two-way communication between staff and patients.

Ms Christie added that large windows into each room will ensure that staff can closely monitor those in their charge.

Retired public health consultant Dr John Womersley, who has been a vocal critic of the 100% single room policy, said he does not believe in the one-size-fits-all approach.

"People like company, they support one another," he said.

"It's ok if you're a busy person and you are in hospital just for two or three days for a major operation or something, then that's fine - a single room is entirely appropriate.

"But if you're staying for a length of time or you're terminally ill or you're having palliative care, or you're in rehab, then that's not the case. You need people around you to support and aid your recovery."

The mock-up room will be open to the public between 13:00 and 14:00 every Tuesday and Wednesday during April and May on the lower ground floor of Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.

Image copyright Justine Laurie
Image caption The hospital, which is under construction, is expected to open to the public in December 2017

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