Patients arriving at hospital by ambulance are set to be seen more quickly thanks to the introduction of an Ambulance Handover Unit at the Southend Hospital site.
The new unit will have space for up to 12 patients and is designed to help reduce patient handover delays. This is a joint project with the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) and Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust and is supported by the wider Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board.
It means patients using it will have their hospital care start sooner, under the supervision of a dedicated clinician. Their care will be monitored regularly by emergency care staff, nurses and healthcare assistants before admission to the emergency department.
The new facility will allow for ambulances to safely handover patients, meaning more vehicles and crews are back on the road to attend emergencies in the south-east Essex area.
The new unit is part of a wider programme of work led by partners in health and social care across mid and south Essex to help meet the anticipated increase in winter demand.
Tom Abell, Chief Executive at EEAST, said:
“The introduction of an Ambulance Handover Unit at Southend Hospital site will release more vehicles and crews for responding to emergencies. It will also help us to meet the challenges of the coming winter months, when we know demand will increase.
“When people call 999 the public expect the ambulance service to attend, units like this will help make sure that we can."
Andrew Pike, Chief Operating Officer and Acting Managing Director at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are aware there are challenges in Southend, as the emergency department is quite small and means it quickly gets filled up when there are periods of high demand. When surges happen, we want to ensure that patients can get the care they need as quickly as possible and be looked after in good accommodation. We hope this extra capacity will help us to do that."
Dr Ronan Fenton Medical Director for the Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System said:
"We are pleased to support this initiative and believe it will help free up our ambulance crews to treat other patients.
It is one of a number of programmes that are in place as we prepare for winter, ensuring access to the right care, in the right place, at the right time for those who need it."
“Partners from across the health and care system are working together, whether it be new services to support people who have fallen at home, more urgent care in the community and hospital at home care. Every one of these initiatives will make a real impact on the ground – helping to relieve pressure on frontline staff as well as seeing patients quickly and directing them to where they can receive the best possible care."
The Ambulance Handover Unit will be located near the ambulance bays at Southend Hospital, from next week, helping support an improved patient experience and importantly releasing ambulance crews to respond to emergency calls with fewer delays.