STRUCTURE: A new Urgent Medical and Ambulatory Unit at Maidstone Hospital will “support and enhance” services provided in accident and emergency, rather than replace them, say doctors.

Akbar Soorma, clinical director for acute and emergency medicine, said: “UMAU and A&E will work side by side. It is not a case of either or, but of providing high quality services that complement each other.

“Patients will get good quality care sooner rather than waiting in hospital unnecessarily,” he added in a press statement.

Maidstone A&E department sees in excess of 60,000 patients a year and it is hoped the new unit will mean some patients are fast-tracked through the department to see specialists in the UMAU.

Lead physician Dr Chris Thom said: “We believe UMAU can be a defining feature of Maidstone Hospital in the future and will help support further improvements to the four hour waiting time standard in A&E.”

The new unit is purposely being developed on Monckton Ward, which is situated directly opposite the A&E Department, to maximise the cohesion between the two clinical areas.