Figures presented to the Isle of Wight NHS Trust Board last week showed what bosses called ‘a steady improvement curve’ in the number of patients being seen within 4 hours at the emergency department (ED).
National targets say 95% of patients should be seen in the ED within 4 hours and while the Isle of Wight’s performance had fallen below the target before changes have been made to help meet and beat the performance indicators.
In the week ending 4th May 2020, 90.7 % of patients were seen in the 4-hour period but in May and June overall, the trust met performance standards despite increased COVID measures and patient levels returning to normal after the first lockdown.
Figures took a slight dip in December, with the week ending 13th December seeing only 82.23% of patients in 4 hours but in the months, following new processes and changes the Trust is now beating the target.
In the week ending 21st April 2021, 99.13% were dealt with in the 4 hours.
The Trust’s chief operating officer Joe Smyth highlighted the department’s performance and said the emergency standard has been met in the last 20 consecutive days, ‘which hasn’t happened here in most of the executive’s lifetimes’. 7 of those days, Mr Smyth said, saw every patient treated in four hours — something he called a ‘remarkable moment’.
Changes made included the creation of a new Children’s ED and relatives room.
Rising use of NHS 111 following the ‘Think 111 First’ campaign where operators can help direct people in the right direction instead of sending patients straight to the ED also helped the figures.
Patient flow was also reworked and changes were made to the discharge process to reduce how long patients were staying in hospital, therefore, freeing up beds.
Chief executive Maggie Oldham said:
“The work we were doing and the improvement pre-dates Covid and it is really good to see we have stood up to the test of Covid in a much stronger way than other organisations across England.
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“It is really gratifying to see the improvements and shows what can happen when we work together as a system to solve challenges.”