NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) has agreed a series of measures with the Scottish Government designed to improve performance across the health board’s emergency departments and reassure patients that their safety will not be compromised.
While these measures are put in place, and a comprehensive review of unscheduled care is carried out by the board’s deputy medical director, the board is advising patients they may experience longer than usual waits in emergency departments over the busy winter period.
Performance figures for emergency departments, by their nature, will always fluctuate across individual hospitals on a day to day basis. However the immediate measures being put in place will be targeted towards reducing unpredictable performance and we expect to see early and sustained progress.
As a result, the board is asking for patience and for people to understand that medical attention will be prioritised to those who most urgently require it. Patients with minor injuries are also being asked to attend the dedicated Minor Injury Units (MIUs) where their injuries can be more appropriately treated.
Hard working frontline staff also want to assure patients that while we have struggled to consistently meet our four hour emergency department waiting time target, patient safety is not being compromised.
One of the reasons for not meeting the target is that more patients are coming to our emergency departments – analysis shows a 6 per cent increase on this time last year and more of these patients are having to be admitted to hospital creating extra pressure on patient flows.
Recently we have been struggling to consistently meet our four hour target to see, diagnose, treat and discharge or admit within the target of four hours. However, we remain committed to delivering the 95 per cent target and are working hard to achieve this.
To help us in our work to address the pressures and improve performance, the Scottish Government has today (Thursday, 22 December) allocated a further £305,000 in addition to the previously announced £1.6 million to help patients who no longer need acute care to be supported at home and free up a hospital bed.
This extra injection of funds will help our clinical and management teams in their ongoing work to reduce emergency department waiting times.
Dr David Stewart, deputy medical director, NHSGGC, said: “Our frontline staff are dedicated and working hard – please be patient and support our staff during the busy winter period.
“We are working extremely hard to enhance performance in our emergency departments to ensure that patients are seen, treated and either admitted or discharged as quickly as possible.
“Our staff are seeing an increasing number of patients at our emergency departments, and it’s through their continued efforts that they are delivering safe and efficient patient care.
“Local teams in all our hospitals continue to make changes to improve the service we offer. I’m also carrying out a root and branch review of unscheduled care, which includes identifying further initiatives that will tackle bottlenecks and deliver improvements.
“In the meantime, we’re urging patients to make full use of our dedicated MIUs, pharmacies and NHS 24.”
There are three dedicated MIUs at the New Victoria, Stobhill and the Vale of Leven hospitals. There are also MIU services in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital and Royal Hospital for Children.
Run by specialist emergency nurse practitioners, backed up by emergency medicine consultants, MIUs are open between 9am and 9pm seven days a week for patients who are not seriously injured or ill enough to go to a full-blown emergency department.
The new structure means that patients with minor or less serious injuries gain rapid access to highly skilled clinical teams, leaving emergency department teams to concentrate on more seriously ill patients.
Children under the age of one with a minor injury should be taken to the MIUs at the Royal Hospital for Children or the Royal Alexandra Hospital. The MIU at the Vale of Leven Hospital will treat children aged one and above with minor injuries. Children aged one to five with minor injuries in Glasgow should be taken to the MIU at the Royal Hospital for Children.
For details of how to access our services go to the ‘Know Who To Turn To’ page on our website (www.nhsggc.org.uk) and this has a full list of services available all year round.
For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email firstname.lastname@example.org