A new £1.7m children's emergency department which took 20 weeks to build has opened at the James Paget University Hospital.

Staff attended the official opening of the Gorleston hospital's new paediatric emergency department on Tuesday with Pleasurewood Hills mascot Woody Bear cutting the ribbon.

The new department is approximately double the size of the old facility, providing modern accommodation including a dedicated waiting room and more assessment cubicles, offering greater privacy for patients.

The completion of the new unit is the latest in a series of improvements to the Paget's emergency department.

The creation of the new unit took 20 weeks, with construction carried out by Morgan Sindall, working closely with the hospital's estates department.

The new unit has five assessment cubicles each with sliding doors, a triage area and two resuscitation rooms. There is also a clean utility area which will house an automated medication dispensing system.

Head of neonatal, children and young person's service Justine Goodwin said: "We are so excited about the opening of the new department, which is such an improvement on the facilities we have been using.

"The team worked so hard to get it delivered. The whole A&E department worked together to make it possible.

"There's never really a convenient time to do these types of things, so it's great it's been done, and our younger patients can get treated in this amazing facility."

Ms Goodwin said the new department has been built with patients in mind, tackling the prospect of younger people being "daunted" while at hospital.

"The new department provides more space, a quieter environment and greater privacy for patients and their families which is separate from the adult area," she added.

The completion of the new unit is the latest in a series of improvements to the emergency department, which started in October 2020 with the expansion of the main department. This phase saw part of the hospital's front facade extended towards the main car park and rebuilt, providing more assessment and treatment cubicles, a larger waiting room and more space for patient triage.

The next phase will involve further refurbishment work to create a better environment in which to treat 'minors' - patients who have attended the emergency department but are unlikely to need admission to a ward.