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A new Surgical Assessment Unit (SAU) opened at Tunbridge Wells Hospital yesterday (Monday 21 December 2020) as part of our ongoing commitment to ensure patients access emergency care services in a prompt and timely way.

SAU, which was based inside the hospital, is now located in a new modular building adjacent to the Emergency Department (ED). The move forms part of the Trust’s plans to enhance its Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) pathway so that more patients can benefit.

The acute unit, which is operational 24 hours a day seven days a week, assesses patients who have been referred by their GP or ED because it is felt need a surgeon to assess their condition. Staff on the unit will then carry out tests and investigations to see what treatment is required. Patients who do not require immediate surgical care may be discharged home possibly with an outpatient follow up, asked to attend the Surgical Day Assessment Unit or referred to a different specialty for further assessment. Those who need to stay in hospital will be transferred to a bed on an in-patient ward.

Inside, the unit houses a waiting area, a clinic room, and a procedure room complete with an ultrasound machine.

It will be staffed by a Senior Surgical Doctor, who will be based on the unit at all times, Nurses and Clinical Support Workers (CSWs). A receptionist will staff the desk Monday to Friday between the hours of 8am and 6pm.