UNDER-pressure hospital staff working in the stretched emergency department at a hospital now have access to a 'retreat room' to get away from the daily demands of the job.

The room will at Royal Blackburn Hospital will be a private space for staff to reflect and gather their thoughts following challenging incidents they may experience within the A&E and urgent care centre.

The emergency department sees around 500 patients per day, and staff treat people with a variety of medical conditions and will also see many patients die.

These events can often happen within quick succession of each other, and as well as being incredibly stressful and traumatic to deal with, it can take a huge toll on someone's mental health, coupled with the day-to day pressures of the job in the face of rising demand on the health service and limited resources.

So to help staff manage, the retreat room has opened and has been funded by East Lancashire Hospital Trust's charity, ELHT&Me.

Emergency department matron Jackie Murray said the retreat room would allow for staff to have 'time out' from the job.

She said: “Over the years we have noticed that something is missing.

"Something to support staff whilst they move from one event to another, something or somewhere ‘time out’ can be had whilst

we gather our thoughts to be able to carry on with the demands of the job.

"This is why we requested funding for the retreat room."

Dr Damian Riley, the trust's acting chief executive, said: “Staff wellbeing is a priority for us, and we know that staff in our emergency department sometimes experience traumatic situations and difficult circumstances.

“To provide safe, personal and effective care for our patients, staff need time and space to process what they’ve encountered at work, and the retreat room is the right place to do that.”

Denise Gee, fundraising manager at ELHT&Me, added: “The aim was to create a quiet space, where staff could regain composure, gather their thoughts, and support each other after a difficult experience at work."

Working closely with Jane Butcher, the trust's staff guardian, Leanne Dwyer, the assistant matron of the emergency department, obtained commitment from around 30 staff there to act as staff champions.

These staff are from a variety of roles and professions within the department - consultants, sisters, staff nurses, health care assistants and administrative staff, and are willing to act as a support to colleagues and discuss any issues in confidence, sit and listen, and support them.

The new retreat room follows the official opening of a respite spot for ambulance service staff last month.

Situated at Burnley ambulance station, the health and wellbeing garden is a place for paramedics to reflect after they have been on a difficult callout.