Blackpool Victoria Hospital has created a new digital display in a bid to help people use the Emergency Department (A&E) for emergencies only.
The giant digital screen, housed in front of the entrance to the Emergency Department (ED), now informs the public about the best service for their particular health need and also includes details of the average waiting time.
Helen Raybould, Directorate Manager of Acute and Emergency Medicine at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “In recent months we have seen a huge rise in ED attendances. Although we realise that the whole health system is under pressure, the Emergency Department is open and available but for emergencies only.
“We wanted to display information for visitors and many of the recent attendances have been for minor conditions that could have been treated elsewhere. Visitors to the department can now clearly see the average waiting time, number of ambulances arrivals in the last hour, the number of patients in the department and the longest time to be triaged. We hope that people will think twice about choosing to be seen in A&E when their symptoms are minor and instead contact NHS 111 first.”
The messaging reads:
Patients will be prioritised in order of clinical need – most clinically urgent people will be seen as a priority.
Minor injuries/not clinically urgent cases may be seen more quickly at the Urgent Care Centre.
If your condition us urgent, but not life-threatening, please ring 111 where an appointment can be booked for you at the appropriate service.
Emergency Department Consultant, Mr Ali-Dari, said: “Overcrowding in ED does not provide the best environment for patients. We are still observing social distancing measures in the department and there are also visitor restrictions in place.
“The team is here 24/7 to treat life threatening emergencies – that has not changed – but the recent rise in attendances, possibly because people are struggling to be seen elsewhere, means that waits are dramatically increased as we treat patients in order of clinical priority. Coming to ED when you don’t need also increases pressure on our colleagues.
“We have seen a great deal of support from the public over the Covid-19 pandemic which we are so grateful for. We would now ask that support turn to thinking carefully about where non-emergency conditions are treated. If in doubt, visit www.111.nhs.uk”
You can also find current ED visiting restrictions at: https://www.bfwh.nhs.uk/coronavirus-information/visiting-and-outpatients/