Corporate Information

Chester MP officially opens SDEC facility


Chester MP Samantha Dixon officially opened the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s Same Day Emergency Care facility (SDEC) today. The facility has marked 18 months since opening its doors to the public in December 2022, and has served thousands of patients since then.

Built as a space where patients with urgent clinical concerns can be assessed, diagnosed, treated and safely discharged on the same day, the SDEC helps to cut down on admissions and as a result, relieves pressure on the hospital. As the guest of honour at an official opening ceremony, MP Samantha Dixon said it was her ‘greatest pleasure’ to declare the facility open. 

“This is an amazing hospital, and it is always so nice to come here. I’ve been involved with the Countess for many years now and it is fantastic to see just how much it has changed and evolved - things like this are always such a boost,” she added.

Since it opened, the SDEC, which is located at the front of the Countess of Chester Hospital, next to the Emergency Department, has welcomed over 10,000 patients through its doors, and provided fast and efficient assessments, allowing the Trust's A&E to prioritise the most critical and more complex cases.

In addition to the Acute Assessment service, SDEC also houses an Acute Frailty service, where patients benefit from specialist and comprehensive geriatric assessments in a calmer and more suitable environment. Meanwhile, the clinical assessment unit on the second floor, enables patients who require additional treatment to return to receive the care they need before being safely discharged, without needing hospital admission.

Diagnostic tests such as X-rays, ultrasound scans, wound care and blood tests are all provided within the SDEC. Patients can only attend SDEC if they have been referred by a healthcare professional (either through their GP, NHS111, North West Ambulance Service, or if they aretriaged at A&E) but they are able to receive urgent assessment, tests, diagnosis and treatment whilst there.

Originally granted planning permission in September 2021 following £15m funding from the Department of Health and Social Care, SDEC is one of many ways in which the Countess of Chester Hospital is working hard to provide quality care in the right place and at the right time for its patients.

SDEC Clinical Practitioner Kirsty Shand said:

"SDEC has provided a vitally important service since opening.Being able to take elderly patients out of A&E makes a huge difference. We bring them in here to be in their own room and provide quick and thorough care. They are assessed by a multidisciplinary team, and they are able to go home on that day - keeping them out of hospital and getting them back to home comforts."

"Recently, a 103 year old lady came in from a residential home who had fallen and cut her head and needed urgent help. Rather than treat her in our busy and noisy Emergency Department, we assessed her in our SDEC immediately."

“She received a review of her medication and her mobility needs and she was back at her care home within four hours."

"It feels like we are really making a difference to our patients and making a really positive impact," added Kirsty. "Rather than being admitted to hospital, if patients require further treatment but are well enough, they can receive their treatment at the SDEC and then return to their own home to recover which is a much better option for them."

Local resident Ray Young's 93-year-old mother Margaret was brought into SDEC following a fall. Margaret was taken from the ambulance straight into the Frailty Unit and was discharged on the same day, having received care that Ray described as 'fantastic’.

“I can honestly say that this centre is amazing,” he said. “I knew nothing about it before but it has been a lifesaver for my family. ”

"My mum has been able to sit in a beautiful and warm building. And she is able to come home on the same day, having been seen by a variety of professionals. I think this place is absolutely fantastic.”

Patients who require emergency care are urged to consider the most appropriate NHS service for their needs and seek out medical help when they feel unwell to avoid becoming more seriously ill and needing to visit the emergency department.

There are a number of different options you can utilise to get help and advice from if it’s not an emergency:

  • A pharmacy – pharmacists can give treatment advice for a range of minor illnesses and can tell you if you need to see a doctor
  • Your GP – you may be able to speak to a GP online or over the phone, or go in person for an appointment if they think you need NHS 111 
  • Call 111 if you have an urgent medical problem and you are not sure what to do.

Published: 24/05/2024