Gwent A&E waits getting shorter
11:21am Wednesday 16th October 2013 in News
WAITING times in Accident and Emergency (A&E) units in Gwent - and patient handover times from ambulances - have improved during the summer.
But there are periods when surges in demand put emergency departments under pressure, and further improvements are needed, says an Aneurin Bevan University Health Board report.
During July and August, the proportion of patients in A&E treated inside four hours was (92.78 per cent, the second best performance, behind Cardiff and Vale, of Wales’ six health boards with acute hospitals.
But there is still some way to go to meet the target of dealing with at least 95 per cent of A&E attenders inside four hours.
The nature of the challenge facing A&E units has changed recently too, with attendances decreasing, but the proportion of ‘major’ cases rising.
Most of these are brought to A&E in ambulances, and contribute to a rise of around 30 per cent in ambulance attendances at A&E units in Gwent in the last ten years.
A key problem is that at times of high demand backlogs can mean that handovers take far longer than the target 15 minutes.
From May-August, 15-minute handovers increased from around 55 per cent to more than 70 per cent, though as August progressed they dipped below 60 per cent again due to increased attendances.
Winter is traditionally seen as the period of greatest pressure on A&E units, and an extra 125 beds are being provided this winter to ease pressure further into the Gwent hospital system.
But other measures, such as reducing ambulance attendances and encouraging people not to attend A&E unless necessary remain key to helping manage periods of demand, states the health board report.
Another approach will be to try to divert elderly patients on arrival at A&E into the Gwent Frailty Programme, identifying those who can be treated best at home with extra support, rather thana potentially lengthy assessment and/or admission.
Comments are closed on this article.