A hospital has set up a “fast-track” unit with an emphasis on the elderly.

Dickens Ward at Northwick Park Hospital has established a short stay unit for older people manned by a team of specialists tasked with getting them home within 72 hours.

The 34-bed unit is specifically for people aged over 65 and has been set up in response to the growing elderly population.

Matron Akua Seinti said: “It’s a busy fast-paced unit because we are focused on getting people home quickly and safely.

“The great advantage is that all the clinical staff are based here along with the discharge co-ordinator and a pharmacist, so we aren’t chasing around after people.

“It’s more efficient and patients’ needs are quickly addressed.”

The 72-hour turnaround time is in contrast to the previous situation where frail and elderly patients were spread across the hospital’s wards where they could be accommodated, and often spent a week or more in hospital before being discharged.