PATIENTS arriving by ambulance at York Hospital should get faster treatment thanks to a new unit.

The ambulance assessment facility was officially opened yesterday by Alf Pickering, a retired ambulance technician, along with health chiefs. It will help reduce turnaround times while patients are handed over from paramedics to hospitals.

The York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has worked with Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) to develop the £800,000 facility, and has converted office space into seven cubicles to be used by adults and children on arrival at hospital by ambulance.

Wendy Quinn, directorate manager for the emergency department at York Hospital, said: “We are delighted to officially open our dedicated ambulance assessment unit which will ensure that our patients can be seen quickly and in an appropriate clinical area when arriving by ambulance.

“The creation of the unit will improve handover times, facilitating earlier assessment of often very ill patients and getting ambulance crews back on the road to help others.”

The unit is the first part of extensive changes to the emergency department at York Hospital, with the second phase set to provide four additional observation beds for patients who need to stay in the department for further observation.

The ambulance assessment unit opened for business on Monday, June 16, but the official opening was held yesterday, to celebrate Alf Pickering’s work with the YAS.