Since the pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in emergency department (ED) attendances and patients with more complex medical problems. This combined with the challenges in discharging patients back into their communities has led to more admissions and longer waits in the ED, which is what many hospitals are experiencing. This pressure is not sustainable long term and the NHS is recommending new approaches to help address these challenges, particularly as we approach the busy winter months.
One of these approaches is known as same day emergency care (SDEC). SDEC is a proven model for getting patients seen and treated on the same day, so they don’t have to stay in hospital overnight. It has been shown to decrease ED waiting times and decrease admissions – freeing up more beds for those who need them the most and getting patients home sooner.
Monday 14 November, saw the successful launch of SDEC at Whipps Cross Hospital. So far it’s seen an average of 20-25 patients a day, with the majority being treated the same day before going home.
Clinical Lead for Acute Medicine & Ambulatory Care, Dr Danny McGuinness says: “It is important to make clear that SDEC will not be used as a substitute to emergency admission where it is genuinely needed but will instead provide faster treatment to a group of patients that would have previously been admitted for ward-based care.”
“Our new unit will enable us to transfer patients out of the ED early in their presentation freeing up valuable capacity in the ED and vastly improving efficiency.”
“It will require a culture shift from our traditional approach to admissions to thinking about how we can best manage a patient without necessarily having to admit them.”
He adds: “Our goal is to provide excellent care while significantly improving the patient experience. This is just the first phase in our ambitious plans to transform how we deliver urgent and emergency care at Whipps Cross.”
17-year-old, Renee Mcintosh who was awaiting an initial assessment said: “I was referred here by the eye treatment centre following my appointment this morning. I’ve only been here for 20 minutes but already we’ve had somebody check on us and offer us some snacks.”
Renee’s mum who accompanied her added: “My brother and his pregnant wife were in A&E for at least eight hours recently and i'm hoping we don’t experience the same. I’ve been really impressed by the responsiveness so far and the efforts to reduce the long waiting times in A&E.”
Another patient Mayawatee Bissessur, who had been in the unit for two hours said: “I’ve already had all my tests done and waiting for my results, the process has been so straight forward, and I feel well looked after…fingers crossed I can leave soon.”
The unit is currently made up of 18 chairs (soon to be 20) across three bays and open from 08:00 to 24:00 seven days a week, with the last referral made at 20:00. Referrals can be sent in via GPs, NHS111/REACH, Physicians Response Unit, ED or outpatients.