On Thursday 23 September, the King George Hospital Emergency Department (ED) ran a 12-hour pilot of a new Rapid Assessment and First Treatment (RAFT) area for patients arriving by ambulance.
The pilot involved a multidisciplinary team approach to early assessment, ensuring time-critical investigations and treatments are initiated as soon as possible in the patient pathway.
Time from arrival to being clinically assessed was under 10 minutes, saving over 3 hours compared to data collected before the pilot.
Patients consistently commented on the “excellent” quality of care and efficiency with which they were seen. One patient said: “I’m amazed! 15 minutes into the building and I already know what my plan is going to be.”
Another remarked: “My friends won’t believe me when I tell them how quickly I was seen!”.
Feedback from the London Ambulance Service crews was equally positive. One tweeted: “We handed over swiftly, offloaded and we were back on the road rather than waiting in the corridor. Thank you.”
The trial ran from 8am to 8pm with 26 patients RAFTed as part of the pilot. Seven patients were assessed in the ambulance by a doctor and immediately redirected to a more clinically appropriate setting. This saved patients unnecessarily being offloaded and sped up their pathway.
The team was made up of a consultant, registrar, two qualified nurses, an ADA and a dedicated receptionist and porter.
The Project Team included ED Speciality Matron Andrew Thorpe, Speciality Matron Emma Beard, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Clinical Lead Philip Halliday, Speciality Manager, Amanda Wickens, and Lead Nurse for Emergency Care Emer Szczygil.
The pilot was also supported by staff from the Improvement Directorate who gathered time observation data and interviewed patients.
Andrew summarised the success of the pilot: “It was fantastic to see the teamwork together in such a cohesive and targeted way.
“The aim was to ensure every patient received a rapid assessment, appropriate investigations and timely treatment. This was led by senior decision-makers who put patient outcome and patient experience at the heart of each interaction.
“It was a great success and the feedback from patients and ambulance staff was excellent. Thank you to all those involved.”