Ex­tra staff called in to ease pres­sure on A&E

Busiest week of year prompts emer­gency mea­sures

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

EX­TRA staff have been brought in to work at Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal for what is ex­pected to be the A&E’s busiest week of the year.

Eight ju­nior doc­tors were drafted in to work at the hos­pi­tal in Pield Heath Road for three months from Mon­day, Jan­uary 12, in an ef­fort to ease pres­sure on the unit.

Other mea­sures be­ing taken will in­clude open­ing a dis­charge lounge where A&E pa­tients wait­ing to be picked up will be able to wait, free­ing up beds.

And this week ev­ery A&E ward at the hos­pi­tal will be ap­pointed at least one ward li­ai­son of­fi­cer to act as a run­ner for doc­tors. Th­ese roles will be filled by staff al­ready work­ing else­where in the hos­pi­tal.

Some of the pres­sure will also be eased by the hos­pi­tal’s new 46-bed Acute Med­i­cal Unit, which opened last month.

The sec­ond week of Jan­uary is known to be the busiest week of the year for A&Es across the UK.

The Uxbridge Gazette Se­ries

Fig­ures re­leased by NHS Eng­land last week showed that A&Es across the coun­try failed to meet the gov­ern­ment’s tar­get of see­ing 95 per cent of pa­tients within four hours in the last quar­ter.

At the Hilling­don Hos­pi­tals NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, which runs both Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal and Mount Ver­non Hos­pi­tal, in Rick­mansworth Road, North­wood, only 92.5 per cent of all A&E pa­tients were ad­mit­ted, trans­ferred or dis­charged within that time pe­riod be­tween Oc­to­ber and De­cem­ber last year.

But Mark Ed­wards, clin­i­cal di­rec­tor of medicine at the hos­pi­tal’s A&E, said he was con­fi­dent the unit would not have to de­clare a ‘ma­jor in­ci­dent’, as sev­eral oth­ers in Eng­land have done re­cently.

He said: “We won’t go the way of other hos­pi­tals and an­nounce a ma­jor in­ci­dent, but I can’t say with hand on heart that we won’t breach that four-hour tar­get, be­cause hos­pi­tals across the coun­try are breach­ing it.”

He added: “I would apol­o­gise if peo­ple have to wait longer than they think they ought to, but un­for­tu­nately that the na­ture of the beast.”

Staff at the hos­pi­tal are ap­peal­ing for pa­tients to only use A&E when nec­es­sary. They say many come through their doors with prob­lems that should in­stead have been di­rected to­wards their lo­cal GPs.

Ad­dress­ing the missed tar­get for A&E wait­ing times, a trust spokesman said: “A&E is meant to be for peo­ple with life threat­en­ing in­juries, but many are us­ing it for mi­nor com­plaints.

“It’s a pub­lic ser­vice and the pub­lic has to be more re­spon­si­ble about its use. There are suit­able al­ter­na­tives closer to home in many cases, in­clud­ing GP surg­eries, phar­ma­cies, the Ur­gent Care Cen­tre and mi­nor in­juries unit at Mount Ver­non.

“It presents ev­ery­one with a big chal­lenge and we are do­ing all we can to safely speed-up dis­charge times at the trust.”

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n CHAL­LENGE: Mark Ed­wards, clin­i­cal di­rec­tor of medicine at Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal’s A&E Con­trib­uted

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