The University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital (UAB Hospital) in the US has received state support for carrying out temporary and long-term expansions of its emergency department (UED).

The State of Alabama earmarked $50m to facilitate the long-term expansion, which has secured Stage 1 approval from the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees.

This move is driven by the growing demand for more emergency medical services.

The hospital has seen a 20% increase in UED patient volume over the past five years, with further growth expected in the next five years.

UAB president Ray Watts said: “The physical expansion of our emergency department is critically needed and vital to ensuring that UAB Hospital can continue to improve the lives and health of every patient who needs our care.”

A temporary overhaul has already commenced for the development of new exam rooms and waiting room space.

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Two leased mobile treatment units will be installed next month to provide additional treatment spaces.

Estimated to cost $73m, the long-term expansion includes the refurbishment of the first floor of the North Pavilion and the construction of a new three-level space.

This project aims to add 59 new exam rooms and increase imaging capacity for emergency clinical care.

Subject to further approvals, construction work for the long-term expansion is expected to start in 2024.

UAB Health System CEO Dawn Bulgarella said: “The Emergency Department serves as a key entry portal for patients to UAB Hospital, with 30% of admissions coming through emergency care.”

“Our expansion plans will enhance our ability to provide unmatched treatment for every patient who walks through our doors, minimise the need for diversions and keep up with our increasing census rates.”