A £650,000 refurbishment of York Hospital’s Emergency Department has been completed - just in time for the coldest weeks of winter.

The front end of the department has been split into two areas - one for conventional emergency services, and another for urgent and primary care, to help provide better access for people with less severe conditions and planned outpatient appointments.

Patients are now seen on arrival by a senior nurse and directed to the appropriate area, in a move the hospital hopes will speed treatment times and ensure they see the right staff more quickly.

Jamie Todd, directorate manager for the Emergency Department, said: “I am really pleased that we have been able to carry out these improvements, which have already received positive feedback from patients and staff. This much-needed refurbishment means we can improve and streamline how patients are assessed and treated, which should reduce the time that people wait in the department, and ultimately improve patient safety.”

The refurbishment - which includes a bright new reception desk, two new assessment rooms and improvements to the waiting area - was funded by the Government’s Primary Care Streaming Initiative, as well as investment from the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The York Teaching Hospital Charity also donated money from its Dementia Appeal, and Friends of York Hospital helped with improved signage, seating and a dementia safe space room.

Lucy Clegg, fundraising manager at York Teaching Hospital Charity, said she was "incredibly grateful" for the generosity of supporters.

"I would also want to extend special thanks to Friends of York Hospitals who made a significant donation of £15,000 which has helped to provide many of the fixtures and fittings in the new areas.”