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.”