The combined Emergency Department and the Urgent Care Centre at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital (RBTH) make up one of the busiest emergency care services in the North West. Currently the Trust treats acute medical emergency admissions within two Acute Medical Units (AMUs) split in two locations on the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital site. The current system, alongside an Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit (AECU), supports the care of all acute medical emergency patients from the Emergency Department and direct admissions from GPs. Both Acute Medical Units function 24/7 with a maximum length of stay of up to 72 hours. After this point patients are either discharged or admitted to a speciality bed on another ward.

Construction work has now begun at the front of Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital to allow us to provide a single Acute Medical Units system of care.

The new integrated Acute Medical Units will accommodate 73 beds in total, ‘wrap around’ the new integrated Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit and will have a range of functions including:

  • 10 high-observation beds to provide higher dependency support
  • Staff education facilities
  • A dedicated inpatient pharmacy service

Bringing the two separate units together will allow a cohesive unit which is able to function as one. As a result, the Trust hopes to:

  • Improve timely access to medical and nursing staff which will lead to more consistent and reliable care for all patients
  • Realising more opportunities for referral to the Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit, reducing unnecessary admissions
  • Shorten the length of stay for patients
  • Invest in the workforce by utilising the existing teams more efficiently with increased nurse to patient ratios, improved staff rota patterns and training and development opportunities for staff
  • Encourage innovation, pathway reform and best practice.

It is also hoped that this will enhance the patient experience with clearly defined pathways from entering the hospital to discharge. 

Virtual tour coming soon

UPDATE - February 2020

  • The building work is running on time to programme regardless of the effect of the high winds and rain from Storm Ciara!
  • Now that the work to construct the steel frame, drainage and substructure brickwork has been completed the installation of the roof will now commence meaning that the construction team will be able start on the internal works (and maybe staying somewhat warmer and drier!)
  • The Patient Experience Team has been fundamental in ensuring that the project has a patient voice.  Members of the Patient Experience Team will be attending both the existing Acute Medical Units (AMUs) in the next few weeks to ask patients a few questions about their experiences.  Volunteers of the Patient Participation Panel are also involved in various workstreams aligned to this project.
  • Medical and nursing teams have reviewed how we work within the two separate AMUs and are now looking at various initiatives to maintain and refine the positive experiences for patients when the new combined AMU opens.
  • Our building contractors are attending Nelson and Colne College’s Work Inspiration Day on Thursday 5 March to talk to young people about careers in healthcare construction. 

View the latest pictures below:

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For more information please email