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Thousands of patients benefit from new model of emergency care

Wednesday, 18 November, 2015
Thousands of patients benefit from new model of emergency care

Thousands of seriously ill or injured patients from across Northumberland and North Tyneside have been assessed, diagnosed and treated much quicker than ever before following emergency admission to hospital, thanks to a pioneering new model of emergency care introduced this summer.

With access to dedicated diagnostics round-the-clock and early intervention from specialist consultants working seven days a week at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, more people who are seriously ill or injured are now getting the right treatment sooner, with many not needing to stay in hospital at all.

Initial data for the first four months since the Northumbria hospital opened in June shows that around 1,500 fewer people have been admitted to hospital than in the same period last year.  This is largely a result of quick decision-making from emergency medicine consultants who are on site 24/7 providing senior clinical input, as well as timely results of tests and scans which are now rapidly available so that consultant specialists can start treatment straight away. 

Of those who are admitted as an emergency, more patients are now going home earlier with over 70 per cent in hospital for less than three days thanks to early specialist input from the right experts – an increase on the same period last year.

The new Northumbria hospital is the first purpose-built hospital of its kind in England to have emergency medicine consultants on site 24/7 with access to state-of-the-art diagnostics and specialist consultants in a broad range of conditions also working seven days a week.

Dr Chris Biggin, clinical director of emergency care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The driving force behind our changes to emergency care was to improve the clinical outcomes for our most seriously ill and injured patients and the early evidence is now very clear that the new system is bringing many benefits to patients.

“Having the right specialists available seven days a week and senior clinical decision-makers on hand around the clock, means we can start treatment much sooner than we’ve been able to in the past and get patients home much earlier.  This is a ringing endorsement of the new model of emergency care and our teams who are working extremely hard to treat increasing numbers of people as quickly as possible.”

These positive outcomes for seriously ill patients across Northumberland and North Tyneside come in the wake of increased A&E attendances across the country and as the NHS nationally gears up for another busy winter period. 

Like all trusts across England, Northumbria Healthcare continues to see an increase in the number of patients accessing urgent and emergency care.  In the first four months since the new model of emergency care was introduced in June, over 54,000 people have accessed services – around half at the new Northumbria hospital and half at the trust’s 24/7 urgent care centres in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals.

Overall the trust has seen a ten per cent increase in activity compared to 2014 and is keen to remind people where to go for help.  Dr Chris Biggin added: “We always see more people needing help from the NHS during winter and it is really important that people know where to go.

“Our new Northumbria hospital is for seriously ill patients, most of whom arrive by emergency ambulance or by urgent GP referral.  If it’s not a life threatening emergency or if you are not seriously ill, then we would urge people to use our 24 hour urgent care centres at Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck where we can see and treat a whole range of less serious problems very quickly and without people having to wait behind those who are much more poorly.”

Speedy treatment for Wooler teenager Will

A family from Wooler witnessed first-hand the prompt, specialist treatment provided at The Northumbria hospital.

Pauline Aitchison took her 15-year-old son Will, who was experiencing severe pains, to Cramlington in the early hours of the morning after taking advice from NHS 111.

Within minutes of arriving in the children’s unit, Will was seen by a nurse, doctor and surgeon and had emergency surgery to remove a potentially dangerous cyst within a couple of hours. He was able to go home just a few hours after that.

Pauline, of Ryecroft Park, said: “We were really impressed with the care Will received, it was phenomenal – there’s no other word of describing it.

“Everything was so streamlined and slick, there was no panic and all the staff knew exactly what they needed to do. Everything was geared towards the patient and their family and myself and Will were kept fully informed throughout which was hugely reassuring in what was a worrying situation.

“We are very lucky to have this facility in our area.”

Will, a pupil at the Duchess’s High School in Alnwick, said: “It was the first time I had surgery so I was a little apprehensive however all the staff were really good and made me feel as comfortable as possible, plus having my own room was a great help too.”