A NEW £6.3 million emergency department at Airedale General Hospital is on schedule to open before the winter.

Contractor Willmott Dixon is currently working on the entrance to the new unit and installing a canopy roof.

Rendering to the outside of the building is expected to be complete within a fortnight.

And the focus will then centre on internal work at the Steeton site, with the fitting of doors, floors and ceilings.

“Everything is on track and the hoarding is coming down now so the public will soon be able to see the amazing improvements," said Meg Crossley, Emergency Department consultant and the project lead at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

“We are delighted with the progress and are planning to launch the new building just before we transfer our patients and existing equipment to the site.

“It has been purpose-built to our specification and will offer huge improvements for all patients, including better facilities for children and families.”

Provision in the new department will include a specialist Butterfly Room to help vulnerable patients suffering from dementia, and three distraction walls in the children’s assessment and treatment areas.

There will also be an interactive floor in the children’s waiting room. The facility was on display during a recent open day at the hospital, and received positive feedback from the public.

A £100,000 appeal was launched in early May to help fund the desperately-needed resources, and buy state-of-the-art equipment including cardiac monitors which will improve care for the thousands who use the A&E department every year.

It will also include three distraction walls for the children's assessment and treatment areas, as well as resources to help patients with dementia.

When the appeal was launched, Barbara Hodkinson, founder and co-ordinator of the national Butterfly Scheme, which helps hospital staff to care for and improve the health and well-being for patients with dementia, said: "Through its Emergency Department Appeal, Airedale is showing how forward-thinking it is in making the A&E experience kinder and more supportive for these vulnerable patients."

Schools, businesses, community groups and patients and their families have joined hospital staff in raising cash as part of the campaign.

E-mail charitable.funds@anhst.nhs.uk, visit airedale-trust.nhs.uk/charity or call 01535 294546 for further information about how you can support the appeal.

To make a donation, text EDAP50 £5 to 70070.

Also, cheques – made payable to Airedale NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Funds, with ED Appeal written on the back or in an accompanying letter – can be sent to the hospital.