NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Bolton NHS Foundation Trust (FT) are piloting a new way of working in A&E to help relieve pressure. The two week trial (1-15 August) will see more patients being streamed and directed to the most appropriate point of care.
This move follows on from an initiative introduced in December, which redirected patients away from A&E at the Royal Bolton Hospital between 8am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday. The new pilot will focus on extending this to particularly busy times in the evening and at weekends.
From Monday 1 August, people who go to A&E with minor symptoms, such as coughs and colds, will be given information on how to manage their illness themselves or may be advised to seek help from their local pharmacy. Those who need to be seen by a GP will be helped to access an appointment at their GP practice. Anyone who is seriously ill will be seen by specially trained doctors and nurses in A&E as usual.
Tim Almond, Senior Commissioning Manager for Urgent Care at the CCG, said: “A&E is there to treat people with serious and life threatening conditions only, but around a third of all those who go to our A&E department here in Bolton do not need to be there. This essential service is under significant pressure and the CCG remains committed to doing everything we can to maintain patient safety and the quality of care.”
Dr Barry Silvert, Clinical Director for Commissioning at the CCG, said: “We need local residents to support our efforts and take care of their local A&E department. Many people will be able to save themselves a trip by considering the alternatives, such as their local pharmacy or GP practice.”
Andy Ennis, Chief Operating Officer at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “People who seek treatment at A&E when they don’t need to, cause delays for everyone and put additional pressure on staff who are already working very hard. We hope this pilot will reinforce the messages and support patients to find the appropriate place for treatment.”
This new approach at A&E is being highlighted by the installation of brand new eye catching signage on the hospital site. The new signs inform people that they may be turned away and directed to another, more suitable NHS service. The aim is to encourage people to think carefully before going to A&E.
This pilot will help the CCG and FT to test out a new of working and to decide if this should be a permanent change at A&E. The pilot will last for two weeks but Bolton people are being encouraged to keep A&E for those who really need it, all year round.