A&E screening will help cut waiting times at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

PATIENTS with minor ailments who go to the emergency department at a west Norfolk hospital will be asked to see their local doctor or pharmacist instead as part of an NHS bid to reduce waiting times. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King s Lynn hopes to re

PATIENTS with minor ailments who go to the emergency department at a west Norfolk hospital will be asked to see their local doctor or pharmacist instead as part of an NHS bid to reduce waiting times.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn hopes to reduce the number of accident and emergency patients with the pilot scheme which was requested by NHS Norfolk, but will still take people who need immediate treatment.

An emergency department nurse will greet members of the public after they have registered at the department reception and then thoroughly assess the reason for their attendance.

The pilot comes after a survey by a senior nurse at the hospital revealed that at least 42 patients per week who were treated in the emergency department would have received more appropriate care from their local doctors' surgery.


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It is linked to the national Choose Well campaign which encourages the public to use NHS services appropriately, and is expected to save �400,000 per year, which could be reinvested into other areas of hospital care.

Dr Bryan Heap, the medical director of NHS Norfolk, said: "We are all aware how busy hospitals have become and how expensive hospital treatment can be. This pilot will reduce the number of people in the emergency department, freeing up resources to treat genuine emergency cases and easing the pressures on our hospitals."

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Christopher Lloyd, clinical lead for emergency medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, added: "There are some patients who attend the hospital because it is convenient rather than because it is where they need to come.

"We are keen to work with NHS Norfolk to ensure our local community gets the right care at the right time from the right service."

The main purpose of the accident and emergency department is to deal with patients suffering from loss of consciousness or collapse, pain that is not relieved by simple analgesia, acute confusion, severe or persistent chest pain, breathing difficulties or symptoms suggesting a stroke.

Last year, the hospital opened a new Clinical Decisions Unit to improve the flow of patients through the emergency department and those referred from primary care. There was also an intensive study of demand for emergency care in Norfolk aimed at improving the flow of patients through the system.

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