Fresh bid to protect our A&E service

Ambulances outside Wigan Infirmary Accident and Emergency department
Ambulances outside Wigan Infirmary Accident and Emergency department

WIGAN health bosses have joined forces to introduce a raft of new measures to reduce pressure on the borough’s accident and emergency department.

Patients who have turned up at Wigan Infirmary who do not need to be at A&E will be referred to other NHS services “in a clinically safe and appropriate way”.

No one will be left without treatment, but in some cases this will be provided at a more appropriate location and time rather than at an emergency department

De Tim Dalton

The move will mean the A&E department will remain resilient, according to borough health experts Dr Tim Dalton and Dr Umesh Prabhu.

During the national waiting times crisis earlier this year which saw A&E departments placed under extreme pressure, Wigan’s emergency department remained one of the best performing in the region.

And public health bosses have been working together with hospital colleagues to help ease the impact on the borough’s A&E during seasonal surges.

Dr Dalton, chair of NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group said: “It is well known that a significant number of patients attend A&E inappropriately – from 15 to 40 per cent of attendances in various studies – which can have a major impact on consistently providing quality emergency care.

“This is why we are introducing new systems that will refer some patients who arrive at A&E back to other NHS services in a clinically safe and appropriate way.

“No one will be left without treatment, but in some cases this will be provided at a more appropriate location and time rather than at an emergency department.

“We will monitor this scheme to make sure that it is helping to reduce pressure on A&E at the same time as maintaining high standards of care.”

Explaining the new policy, Dr Prabhu, acting deputy chief executive and Medical Director at WWL NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Where it is clinically appropriate and safe, some patients will be deflected from the A&E department to a place and time where their condition can be managed optimally. This will be done with a degree of clinical triage in order for it to be safe for the patient at all times.”