WIGAN Infirmary is using a special form of technology to help reduce waiting times in A&E.
As departments across the UK continue to struggle under increasing pressures, staff at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Trust have come up with a new app that they believe can help determine when is best to increase and decrease staffing levels.
Medics believe it helps make theirs one of the best-performing emergency departments in England.
WWL head of business intelligence Mark Singleton explained how the app that is in operation helps portray what departments are being used, how people are admitted and helps staff to forecast busy days.
He said “A couple of years ago winter pressures had continued all the way through to the summer and there were ambulances queuing up.
“So we formulated a team of doctors, nurses AND information to look at how we use the information the Trust has to help them provide their care.
“We’re now able to give the service timely information, that shows the service, not just what’s happened in the last week or the last month but it also provides the Trust with some forecasting information.
“They can use that information to shape their rotas and decide how many doctors, how many nurses are needed for the days and weeks ahead.
“It shows how many patients are currently in the department.
“You can see how many patients are in each part of A&E. We can see how many people come in, how many come by ambulance and how many have had to be admitted into a hospital bed.”
Last year, Wigan Infirmary was hailed for leading the way with some of the country’s best A&E and GP waiting times.
The foundation trust regularly issues appeals to patients to use the NHS wisely according to their various health needs, rather than automatically gravitating to A&E no matter what the medical problem.
Alternatives on offer include GPs, the NHS 111 helpline, pharmacists and the Leigh walk-in centre.
There has also been success in identifying and working with that hardcore of borough residents, including those with mental health issues, who are frequent visitors to Wigan A&E, generally with non-emergency issues.