A HUGE £2.5million revamp of the A&E unit at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford is starting this week.

Hoarding is set to go up in the next two days and patients will have to use a temporary reception area while to works are underway.

It is hoped the work will be completed by Christmas at the Darenth Wood Road facility.

Andrew Simpson, who has been project manager for the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust for nine months and has 30 years of experience, says it will give patients a 'calmer and peaceful' experience of the A&E department.

Mr Simpson, who has worked in Europe and the Middle East heading up big projects, said: "This is very good news for Darent Valley.

"We currently have 40 seats and once the refurbishment is done it will go up to 73.

"We have also taken lots of care to ensure the design of the seats is quite considerate because we know that when you come in with an accident who may not want to be sitting directly opposite someone else in the waiting area.

"The improvements shouldn't be too disruptive to patients on an everyday basis.

"We have had to be careful that the work is done around our patients and doesn't cause them an annoyance."

As well as the number of seats in the waiting area increasing there will also be a newly designed triage suite where people will be looked at and a new assessment unit for the elderly.

Mr Simpson added: "It is sometimes difficult to tell with elderly people straight away what kind of care they need when they first come into A&E.

"So that is why we want to create this extra area where we can look at elderly people in a separate place to decide what care they need.

"The whole project is going to be a big benefit to the hospital and patients."