Our Emergency Department (ED), like many others across the country, is under increasing pressure. When the unit at St Peter’s was built some years ago it was expected to cater for around 180 patients per day with 45 ambulance attendances. Today we are seeing around 300 patients per day with 95 ambulances attending.
We have a long-term plan to increase the size and capacity of the ED, tied into our overall ten-year plan for the St. Peter's Hospital site. At the heart of this is a necessity to improve the flow of emergency patients throughout our hospitals and most importantly, to provide them with a better experience whilst under our care.
The first step of our improvement programme has been the establishment of our Urgent Care Centre (UCC) opposite the main ED. This has been set up in order to reduce crowding in the main department and, by seeing the less sick patients who attend, it ensures that the very sick and/or injured patients in the main department receive the highest attention. The UCC now sees about 100 self-referring patients a day, with additional renovations to the unit completed last month that include an expanded, comfortable air conditioned waiting area for patients.
The next step is to create more room within the main Emergency Department itself. This is split into separate care areas for our patients.
Resus – the resuscitation room will be expanded from four to six bays. This receives our most critically ill and/or injured patients.
Pitstop – this is where our patients who have been brought in by ambulance come to be assessed, ready to be seen by Senior doctors and nurses. It is currently located at the back of the department, meaning ambulance crews have to walk through the whole of the ED to get to it. With the reconfiguration, Pitstop will be moved to the front of the department to ease flow and will become a nine bay unit.
Clinical Decision Unit (CDU) – this is for patients needing further observation and treatment. Patients can stay overnight if necessary before a decision on whether to admit or discharge them is taken. This area is currently a single six bedded bay, which is not only too small but also creates problems in providing single sex accommodation. The new unit, which will incorporate the space of the old Pitstop and the former Multi-Faith Centre - which has been relocated - will deliver 12 beds - six female and six male.
Majors Cubicles – this is the main part of the emergency department where most patients are seen. The current area is being knocked through to make an open plan space which will allow better trolley movements and increased visibility for staff of all the patients, while preserving their privacy.
We hope these works will be completed by the end of the year, and we will make every effort to minimise disruption throughout this period. However we would ask staff and patients to bear with us during this time. If you would like to discuss these plans further with one of the team, please contact Rick Strang, Associate Director of Operations (Emergency Care) or Helen Lawrence, Emergency Department Matron.