A TEMPORARY unit has opened at Westmorland General Hospital (WGH) as part of plans to help manage the coronavirus pandemic.

The Surgical Emergency Ambulatory Care Unit (SEAC) will deal with a wide variety of patients across a broad range of issues including general surgery, urology, orthopaedics, maxillofacial (face, mouth and jaws), ear, nose and throat, appendicitis, gall bladder disease, sebaceous cysts and abscesses.

The unit will also deal with fractures and swollen joints from the orthopaedic team, ear infections from the ENT (ear, nose and throat) team, facial swelling, facial fractures and dental abscesses from max fax (mouth) and urinary retention, urinary infections, catheter problems (including changes) and renal stones from urology.

The SEAC has moved to Kendal temporarily from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI). Both hospitals are run by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT).

The decision to move the unit has been made to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic. An UHMBT spokesman said it would allow the trust to make the best use of its estates, creating more capacity for patients with coronavirus.

The unit will see patients with less severe conditions who are able to travel. A service will remain at the RLI for those patients who are unable or unwilling to travel and those with more severe conditions.

“The temporary relocation of the SEAC unit at RLI to WGH will help to increase bed capacity for patients with COVID-19,” said Dr Shahedal Bari, medical director at UHMBT.

“Thanks to the surgical team for coming up with this plan in a very difficult time to offer a safe and clean service. The move to WGH will ensure our patients continue to have the very best care and experience. For patients unable or unwilling to travel from the acute site, a service will remain which will also be able to treat those too unwell to be considered for SEAC.”

The unit will be open from Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm.