15:57 Monday 23 December 2013

Hospital unit leads to 'major' improvements at Queen's

Written byLAURA HAMMOND

A UNIT which opened its doors in the summer has had a ‘major’ impact on improving services at Queen’s Hospital, bosses have claimed.

The addition of the acute assessment centre, attached to the A&E department at the site, has eased the pressure on the busy emergency area, and helped boost it to become one of the best-performing casualty departments in the West Midlands, chiefs said.

The £1 million facility opened in August as a destination for those urgently referred to the hospital by their GP or from the adjoining A&E department, with the intention of reducing the number of people heading to the strained department seeking treatment.

It launched against a background of great expectation, and with more than 3,000 people using the unit since it opened, suggestions are that it has lived up to the hype.

Dr James Crampton, clinical director for emergency and acute medicine at Queen’s, said: “The opening of the acute assessment centre in August has made a major contribution to enabling us to meet targets over the last six months. In addition, complaints have reduced and patients are happier with the service. It has also been welcomed by GPs. Ambulance handover times have also improved.”

In the last quarter of this year, from October, more than 12,000 people have headed through the doors of the A&E department, and almost 96 per cent of them have been seen within four hours – beating national targets.

Last year thousands more people went to the emergency department, putting extreme pressure on staff and resources.

Director of operations Mark Powell said other measures had also been taken to ease the strain.

He said: “Investment in an extra A and E consultant, more nurses, nursing assistants and administration staff at Queen’s means that we have been able to extend the hours when senior-led care is available for emergency patients coming into A and E on weekdays and at weekends.

“This enhances our capacity to continue to provide high-quality care for patients.”

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