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New trials aim to cut wait at Rotherham A&E

18 Apr 2019 10:14:48
UECC

Rotherham Hospital’s Urgent and Emergency Care Centre (UECC) has faced its busiest week ever - with a record 364 people passing through the door last Monday (8 April).

This comes as the Trust is piloting new approaches to reducing waiting times and improving patient care by speeding up assessments as soon as people arrive  and reforming the ways in which the department’s performance is measured.

The first initiative sees the ‘streaming’ of patients from the moment they come through the door, triaging their needs within 15 minutes and identifying the right treatment pathway for them.

It’s part of a commitment to ‘right care, first time’ and is intended to put patients at the heart of the service, reducing any repetition and delay in how they are processed. It will also allow ambulance teams bringing-in patients to be released quicker.

The second trial will see Rotherham Hospital develop a more holistic approach to clinical care and patient satisfaction, as one of just 14 sites across the country chosen to field test a set of new national performance measurements for NHS emergency care.

In a major report published last month, Professor Stephen Powis, the National Medical Director of NHS England, found a number of flaws with the current four-hour waiting target in A&E, specifically that it doesn’t measure total waiting times or take account of the patient’s actual condition.

The revised, more detailed focus during this field-test will be on measuring the waiting time from an initial clinical assessment as well as measuring the average waiting time. It will also look at call response standards for 111 and 999.

The Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, George Briggs, explained: “If people feel they need to come to A&E then our advice is always: ‘Come to A&E,’ however there are a number of other options that people should consider first, including visiting their GP, or even checking in with their pharmacist. They are often the unsung heroes of the NHS and can be brilliant at advising on a range of symptoms.”

Mr Briggs added: “Our trials in the Urgent and Emergency Care Centre are designed to speed up waiting times, but also to improve the quality of everything we do for patients.

“It’s early days, but being part of the field-testing of these new access standards will help to shape how the entire NHS operates in years to come, so it’s an exciting opportunity for Rotherham to be at the cutting edge of what will become a major change to emergency care nationally.”