GOOD progress is being made on the expansion of Fairfield Hospital’s £2.25 million accident and emergency department, say health chiefs.

Work started on the scheme in November, 2012, and was initially expected to be completed by November last year.

However, construction was temporarily halted last June after the original contractors, Thomas Winstanley & Son, went into liquidation.

Bury-based firm Thomas Barnes & Sons PLC was then appointed to carry out the work and the new facility is now due to be finished this July.

Two new extensions are being added to expand the existing accident and emergency (A&E) department at the site off Rochdale Old Road. One area will provided dedicated, state-of-the-art A&E facilities for children and young people and the other will allow staff to separate minor and major cases.

Dr Kassim Ali, consultant in A&E medicine and clinical lead at Fairfield, said: “The improved physical layout and expansion of clinical treatment areas will allow the A&E department to streamline patients more effectively and reduce waiting times by separating patients with minor injuries from those who are critically ill.”

Fairfield’s A&E department was originally designed to accommodate 45,000 patients but over the last year has treated more than 65,000 patients.

The first extension was completed in February and is now in use for minor injuries and the second extension is currently being fitted out.

This area will include 11 major incident treatment bays, extra clinical storage and utility rooms.

Graham Lord, Head of Estate Develop-ment at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Fairfield Hospital, said: “The expansion of clinical treatment spaces and improved layout will help the hospital manage this increase in demand more effectively and will hopefully have a positive impact on patients’ overall experience at the hospital.

“In the meantime, we will try to ensure that any disruption to services is kept to a minimum whilst the fit out works are taking place.”

Health bosses are reminding patients to keep emergency departments for patients who need urgent attention.