An extra nine consulting rooms are to be added to Ipswich Hospital’s ongoing multi-million-pound project to transform its children’s department.

The first building works of the hospital’s £6.9million project to revamp the department began in May, with the aim of improving the experience of young patients, their families and carers.

Plans include creating additional clinic spaces and siderooms, moving the playroom to the heart of the ward, and creating a sanctuary for teenagers.

The paediatric assessment unit (PAU), where emergency cases are cared for, will now be located much closer to the main ward, which will help staff work together effectively to look after acutely unwell children.

East Anglian Daily Times: An artist's impression of a single bed ward.An artist's impression of a single bed ward. (Image: ESNEFT)

Now, a further application has been submitted, proposing to “enlarge the courtyard extension” which will greatly increase the floor space available. This space will allow for an additional nine consulting rooms and five siderooms.

A design and access statement for the extension was prepared by Ipswich-based KLH Architects.

It said that the department in its current form is in need of modernising.

It said: “The current ESNEFT Child Health Service at Ipswich Hospital is out of date and does not meet current clinical needs.” It added that the department had not been extended or improved in approximately 30 years.

It continued: “The current department has six consulting rooms with nine consultants using these for various clinics. Therefore, demand for consulting rooms means that the clinics struggle to operate efficiently.”

It said that increased referrals had contributed to pressures, and that the hospital required more siderooms for those whose immunity was compromised.

It concluded: “Finally, patients currently have to be seen elsewhere in the hospital who should ideally be seen within a children’s setting. For example, Trauma and Orthopaedics and Dermatology.”

East Anglian Daily Times: An artist's impression of a ward.An artist's impression of a ward. (Image: ESNEFT)

Dr Lauren Filby, clinical lead for paediatrics at Ipswich Hospital said: "This exciting project will transform the experience which our young patients and their families have when receiving treatment, and we are delighted with the progress which has been made so far.

“The extension is an important part of the overall redevelopment and will allow us to create a new treatment room, dedicated HDU [high-dependency unit] bay, sanctuary room and parts of the new inpatient area.

“We hope that work on this phase of the project will begin early next year.”