Audiology services at Chesterfield Royal Hospital have moved to a purpose built unit as part of a major upgrade in the way it is able to treat patients.

Ten years ago the team was based off site, moving into outpatient suite 1 to bring a number of services into the main hospital building. The move was intended to be temporary and work has now been completed to move to a new, permanent base in outpatient suite 7, which will see the service improve for patients and staff.

Deborah Farr is the Head of Audiology Services, she said: “At the time of the original move it was great for us and our patients to be a part of the main team and Suite One was an ideal location. It was easy to find being close to the main entrance and we were able to utilise the many clinic rooms and hearing booths to book in more patients more efficiently.

“Over time the service has changed and become busier which has presented its own problems. Suite One is the home to a number of different clinics and, with the Urology department at the bottom of the suite and Pharmacy at the top, we get a lot of non-Audiology patients who walk through which causes noise disruption for our sensitive diagnostic equipment. We also have no dedicated receptionist for people to ask for help or ring us with questions about their appointment.

“We knew that we had to explore other options and now, thanks to a number of neighbouring projects that have gathered momentum, space became available in Outpatient Suite Seven. It’s a bigger area, is relatively self-contained in a building just outside the main hospital building but on site and with its own entrance.” 

A number of clinics have moved out of Suite Seven to make way for Audiology and a reconfiguration of Suite One. It will allow Audiology to be more self-sufficient in how it deals with patient appointments, make it easier for patients to directly contact the service and provide a much more appropriate environment to perform their hearing tests.

Deborah added: “We’ve been directly involved in the design with an active role in deciding how the unit will look and what we needed to provide the best service. The most complex and specialised work was to make sure that we have the appropriate environment to provide the right service to our patients. For example the right sound protection has been installed, the internal layout of Suite Seven has been reconfigured to accommodate the clinic rooms, we’ve got a larger and more appropriately proportioned waiting area and we’ve redirected the air conditioning ducts to ensure they don’t impede on sensitive audiology testing.

“We’ll move from having six good and two okay clinic rooms to eight very good rooms, all completely future proofed in terms of sound insulation. We have the added bonus of not having any other patient through traffic, which did cause some issues with noise in suite 1 which was a very busy shared space. The waiting area is bigger, more comfortable and better equipped for our patients so the environment is better for them.

“The team will also benefit from an improved staff area with greater filing capacity compared to the shelving we had in Suite One which will lead to a more organised and neater space for us to use outside of clinics. It also gives us the freedom to be more responsive to patient comments by having our own reception area, providing a greater control over appointments. It’s an exciting opportunity for us and an important development for the way we operate clinically in Audiology.”