Plan for A&E improvements at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

PUBLISHED: 12:19 13 July 2012

A plastic surgeon from the hospital is on TV next week

A plastic surgeon from the hospital is on TV next week

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

Norwich’s accident and emergency department looks set to get a refurbishment next summer, a meeting has been told.

The high volume of cases dealt with in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s A&E department and the knock-on delays it can have on freeing up ambulances was discussed at a meeting yesterday.

There have been concerns that poor ambulance turnaround times at the hospital have affected the East of England Ambulance Service’s ability to respond to emergencies in Norfolk.

At a Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting, the N&N’s temporary A&E department manager Debbie Oades said a refurbishment of the department was planned for next summer.

She said: “Estates are working with us as we speak to look at how we can improve the department. Our priority in that is to try to extend the number of trolley bays we have, and at the moment we only have 15.”

The meeting was told this could help to improve the capacity of A&E and there were also hopes to create a “clinical decisions unit”.

This ward-type area would take patients directly from A&E. For example, if a patient had a nasty bump to the head and needed a CT scan and to be observed for a few hours, they could be moved there instead of being kept in one of the trolley bays used for patients with “major” injuries.

Figures from the East of England Ambulance Service show the time lost in just one week in June due to ambulance turnaround delays amounted to more than 98 hours at the N&N, by far the highest in the region, but it also had significantly more A&E admissions by ambulance than any other hospital.

The meeting heard how in the short-term measures to improve turnarounds included new rapid assessments by consultants and reducing delays in discharging patients and being able to move patients from A&E to other wards.

The N&N has eight A&E consultants, but hopes to appoint two more.

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