Harrogate District Hospital’s Emergency Department has been awarded £340,000 to ease pressures ahead of next winter as part of a national funding announcement.
The money will mean a redesign of the area just inside the front entrance to the Emergency Department. It will allow for the creation of a confidential area for patients to be clinically assessed as to whether they need to be seen within the Emergency Department or whether staff can direct them round to the Trust’s GP Out of Hours service.
This service will be in place at the times when patients’ own GP practices are closed and the Emergency Department sees a higher proportion of people attending when it’s really more appropriate for them to be seen by a GP.
In addition, the funding allows the Trust to improve the rooms which GPs use to provide this service.
Robert Harrison, Chief Operating Officer at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Towards the end of last year we received capital funding which enabled us to extend the Emergency Department, creating an additional five treatment cubicles, this assisted our staff to deliver the national standard of 95 per cent of patients to be seen and discharged or admitted within four hours.
“We therefore anticipate this funding will further improve the environment for patients, ensuring they can be seen by the most appropriate professional and support our staff in continuing to deliver the national standards for the people who use our services.
“Despite this extra funding, people are reminded that unnecessary attendances at the Emergency Department mean longer waits for those patients who really do need care, as well as extra pressure on staff throughout the Trust. If you have an illness that is not severe, then consider visiting www.nhs.uk/111, calling NHS 111, contacting your own GP in-hours or seeing a local pharmacist for advice before choosing to come to the Emergency Department.”
The funding is part of a national announcement from Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt. Mr Hunt confirmed that a further £20.74 million has been awarded to 27 hospitals in England, which follows an initial £55.98 million given to 70 hospitals in April. This money is part of the dedicated funding announced in the Spring Budget to ensure local Emergency Departments are prepared for the additional demands that winter brings.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “The NHS prepares well in advance for winter each year, but despite the hard work and dedication of staff, demand on services continues to increase as a result of our ageing population.
“This vital investment will help hospitals change the way they assess and see patients so people are given the most appropriate medical care as quickly as possible. The funding will be used to help hospitals properly equip themselves ahead of winter, particularly to handle the large volumes of patients attending Emergency Department.”
The funding also supports wider plans set out by NHS England to improve Emergency Department performance in England by 2018. In particular, it will help hospitals hit the target of admitting, transferring or discharging 95% of patients within four hours.
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