Patients admitted to the BGH on the day of their surgery over the past 18 months have been benefitting from a dedicated admission area specifically designed for their needs.

Following a 6 month programme of work to completely redesign the ward area, the Planned Surgical Admissions Unit (formerly Ward 8) in Borders General Hospital opened its doors to patients in March 2011.

It has been designed to increase the number of adult day case and day admission patients and better meet their needs by creating a more suitable clinical environment. Patient safety and quality of care are the core factors in the operation of the Unit.

Catering for three stages of a patient's journey, the new Unit offers an admissions lounge for patients prior to surgery, a post-operation recovery area, and a further recovery area of recliner chairs for patients prior to their discharge or transfer.

It also has two examination rooms, a clinical preparation area, a multi-disciplinary work area for staff, increased storage areas, as well as additional washbasins, toilets and assisted showers and changing rooms.

An average of 18 patients per day are treated through the specialist Unit, and the aim is to cater for 2000 day case patients per year. In the first year of operation the Unit has already contributed to a 135 per cent increase in orthopaedic day cases. This also means that the number of elective inpatients staying overnight has reduced, as patients are treated as day cases where medically appropriate.

Achievements include a reduction in the length of stay for patients, meaning they are able to go home sooner; releasing time for ward staff to provide patient care; a reduction in cancelled procedures; reduced pressure on surgical and orthopaedic beds, and an overall improvement in patient and carer experience.

John Raine, NHS Borders Chair, said: "We aim to deliver high quality health care at the right time and in the most appropriate way and this new Unit enables us to do this. The medical and nursing staff have made considerable achievements through their commitment to providing an effective and efficient service to meet the needs of the people of the Borders." Brian Rintoul, Charge Nurse, added: "The ward staff have been delighted to receive positive feedback from patients who have been admitted to the Unit, and have felt the benefits of the improved environment themselves too." The redesign work to create the Unit has also been recognised nationally, with the team invited to present a poster outlining the background and achievements at an event for NHS Scotland staff in Glasgow in June 2012.