PLANS to upgrade Colchester Hospital's emergency department have been unveiled.

East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust has applied to Colchester Council for planning permission to redesign its emergency floor, including part of the A&E assessment areas.

The proposal would see an extension house a new paediatric emergency department, a new ambulance canopy created, a new corridor linking the north of the hospital built and another canopy to the assessment unit on the west side.

A planning report states: "The existing emergency departments and assessment units are considered inadequate and fall short of the required standards and patient numbers.

"The proposed works will improve patient flow, experience and way finding."

Patients will be seen in different departments depending on the type of accident or emergency, with a separate department for children.

The report continues: "Patients will usually enter at the Urgent Treatment Centre on foot or be brought in by ambulance and go straight to the emergency department, via the new ramped assessment and treatment area.

"The new ambulance canopy will provide protected transfer for patients arriving by ambulance.

"Patients can then easily transfer via the new link corridor, onto the rear main 'street' and onto whichever assessment unit is appropriate."

The report adds the upgrade could eliminate the prospect of patients "waiting in corridors on trolleys".

Alison Power is Director of Operations at Colchester Hospital.

She said: “We want to make sure our patients are being seen in the right place, at the right time and this vital work to improve our departments will allow us to do that.

“We also want to make sure our buildings and environment meet the needs of the communities we serve.

"Redesigning our emergency floor, which includes part of A&E and our assessment areas, will lead to improved outcomes and patient experience.

"It will also support us to achieve national patient safety and quality standards.”

Colchester Council will have the final say on the plans.