STAFF at the region’s two main hospitals are preparing for the biggest change to healthcare in the area this Monday, May 19.

Frenchay Hospital’s A&E department will close for good at 2am on Monday and will immediately reopen at Southmead Hospital’s new Brunel building.

The move to the new £400million building comes after years of debate over which site would better suit the region’s only acute hospital and follows months of meticulous planning.

A blessing will be held at Frenchay and another will follow after the opening of Southmead’s new A&E department.

The new facility has its own access for ambulances via Dorian Road, a helipad and a minor injuries department.

Juliette Hughes, Emergency Department matron, said: “We have a fabulous department that is designed to be fit for purpose. Having minor injuries based in the department will help considerably in terms of getting patients to the right place for the right treatment.”

Dr Kirsten Jones, lead consultant for the Emergency Department, said: “We will all really miss the Frenchay department but it has been pieced together over the years so nothing is where you want it. The new department at Southmead has been designed to ensure everything is in the right place.”

Children’s A&E services moved to the Bristol Children’s Hospital earlier this month, however, children with minor injuries or illness can still be treated at Southmead.

After the 2am move, ambulances will take all patients to Southmead.

Patients are asked to dial 999 in an emergency and for minor injuries, visit the minor injuries unit based with the A&E department at Southmead or at Yate West Gate Centre.

If you are feeling unwell call NHS 111 for advice or contact your GP.

Other departments are transferring to the Brunel building, which features 24 theatres and 72 medirooms and 75 per cent single occupancy rooms, in the coming fortnight with the new hospital fully open by May 28.