‘Targeted care is essential to reduce hospital pressures’ – Wells

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Thursday, January 1st, 2015
Avoiding unnecessary admissions, streaming patients into categories and effectively managing patient flow through our Emergency Departments (EDs) will reduce pressures on the hospital system.

Health Minister Jim Wells

That was the message from Health Minister Jim Wells as he visited the Ulster Hospital’s Urgent Care area and Frailty Unit in the South Eastern Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust. Minister Wells said, “Finding alternative doors into the hospital, which by-pass the ED and stream patients into categories of urgency will release space in EDs for patients who require the most intensive treatment. “We aim to create a bespoke environment which encourages patient flow, helping people to get the right treatment, in the right place and crucially, get home again as quickly as is appropriate.” In July this year, following the outcome of a review into unscheduled care carried out by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA), the then Health Minister Edwin Poots announced the establishment of the Unscheduled Care Task Group, under the joint leadership of the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officer. The Task Group aims to drive forward improvement in the delivery of unscheduled care in Northern Ireland. Each Trust has an implementation plan to eliminate all avoidable 12 hour delays in EDs. A menu of services which will help improve performance and sustain these improvements has been developed. This will help Trust review their current services and aid commissioners to make decisions for the future. The Minister continued, “Caring for our frail older population appropriately and effectively managing patient flow, will help to achieve the Unscheduled Care Task Group’s aim of eliminating 12 hour delays in hospital EDs. “The new Frailty Unit and Urgent Care area I am seeing today are working examples of the ethos and aims of the Unscheduled Care Task Group. The Frailty Unit will reduce the number of unnecessary admissions by quickly assessing patients, treating them and getting them back into their own homes as soon as possible. He added, “It’s this kind of innovative and flexible thinking that will drive through the improvements we need to make our hospitals perform better. We must continue to do all we can to reduce the pressures in our EDs, especially over the winter period, when our resources are already stretched.”
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