New use for former Covid area of Emergency Department sees more patients getting same day emergency care rather than staying in hospital


Queen's Hospital

The former Covid Majors area of Queen’s Hospital (above) has been transformed into a new area aimed at offering ‘same day emergency care’, reducing the number of patients needing to be admitted to hospital.

This has seen our Emergency Department (ED) performance against the four-hour standard improve by eight per cent – meaning reduced wait times for our patients.

Covid Majors was an area of our ED set aside at the start of the pandemic for providing separate care for Covid patients. These patients are still looked after separately in our ED, however, as numbers have reduced from previous peaks, more space is available for initatives such as this.

The new area was introduced as a two-week initiative in March. The first day it operated saw ED wait times the lowest they’ve been since Christmas, despite higher attendances. Therefore, it has remained in place and continues to make improvements.

The aim is to provide emergency care for patients who would otherwise be admitted to hospital, while liaising with community and primary care colleagues to ensure timely follow-up of patients. It has seen us work even more closely with our CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) with colleagues joining daily reviews of patients.

We've already introduced better ways of working, including sign-posting patients to services in the community which can support them, for example, helping reduce the number of patients with diabetes needing to be admitted to hospital.

Our Chief Executive, Matthew Trainer, said: “This is a new and flexible way of working which is helping to improve flow through our ED, while focusing on the needs of our patients.

“We know no one wants to be admitted to hospital unless it’s absolutely necessary so it’s right we look at how we can provide emergency care to patients on the same day where it’s safe to do so. It’s also improving how we work with our partners, which is key as we know to tackle our ED waiting times, we need to look at our whole urgent care system locally.”

Dr Jagan John, a GP in Barking and Dagenham and Chair of NHS North East London CCG, said: “We welcome the expansion of same day emergency care. The improvement in treatment times demonstrates the effectiveness of the service and, most importantly, it’s helping to ensure that patients receive the right care and avoid unnecessary hospital admission.”

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