James Paget Hospital in Gorleston handed £1m to help ease winter pressures
- Credit: David Hannant
One of the region's hospitals has been handed £1m to help ease pressure on its accident and emergency (A&E) department this winter.
The James Paget University Hospital (JPUH), in Gorleston, was one of 70 NHS hospitals given a slice of £100m of A&E capital funding, after the trust submitted a bid earlier this year.
Some £58.98m has been allocated by the Department of Health so far, after the funding was announced in the spring budget.
In Gorleston, it will be used to introduce a streaming service, where patients who arrive at A&E will be allocated to different 'flows' depending on their needs.
For example, this could mean having GPs on site which could deal with their ailment more appropriately.
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It comes as the trust has issued several warnings over the last year that patients should only go to A&E if they have a 'life or limb-threatening condition'.
JPUH chief operating officer Graham Wilde said: 'People tend to come along when they have what they perceive as an urgent need, but maybe not what we would call an emergency need.'
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And he said a new system would mean those people were seen by the appropriate person, effectively lifting them out of the A&E queue.
This system was based on a similar system used in Luton and Dunstable, he added.
In January, JPUH's board of directors heard how the hospital faced its busiest day over the winter period on January 3.In 24 hours there were a total of 216 A&E attendances and 63 ambulances attending the department.
The meeting also heard that several key performances indicators were not met in December.
These included the A&E 95pc target for patients being in the department for less than four hours as well ambulance handover times.
Last month, the trust came close to hitting this target with 94.998pc of patients seen within the time frame.
This was up from February and January where 87pc of patients were seen on time, and December where 89pc were seen on time.
The Department of Health funding - of which JPUH received the maximum amount - is designed to help hospitals hit that 95pc target.
Mr Wilde said the trust was 'absolutely thrilled' to receive the funding.