STAFF at Yeovil District Hospital have celebrated the official opening of a successful new unit, which helps patients stay out of hospital and reduces pressure on the emergency department.
The Ambulatory Emergency Care (AEC) Unit took up residence in a purpose made space to provide an expanded service in October 2016.
The AEC Unit gives patients with on-going medical needs the care they need without having to wait in the emergency department or stay in hospital as an inpatient; providing appointments seven days a week.
Patients with certain conditions, such as pneumonia, chest pain and pulmonary embolism are safely managed as outpatients.
This helps to reduce the amount of time patients have to stay in hospital, improving patient experience and the use of Yeovil Hospital’s resources.
Before the unit was opened, patients would often have to be admitted into hospital to get the care they needed. Now they can attend the AEC Unit for appointments and return home the same day.
At the official opening Julie Reeve, nurse consultant in emergency medicine, said: “The unit has been a fantastic success since opening in October 2016. We’ve seen 1,388 new patients over 2,298 appointments which have helped avoid 805 admissions.
“This helps take pressure off our emergency department and the hospital wards. Ensuring we can provide the best possible patient care.
“The results are a tribute to the team’s dedication and vision. I want to pay a special tribute to a colleague who was integral to the unit’s development, Wayne Callow, who sadly passed away after a short illness last year. He would be proud of what the team has achieved and the care they deliver to patients.”
The unit was opened by Wayne’s wife, Lisa Callow. Patient feedback on the unit has been very positive.
In a review of the unit one patient said: “I visited this unit regularly after my operation, the staff were excellent. They made my visits a pleasure. Now that they have given me the all clear to not come back I feel glad that my treatment is finished but sad that I will not see their smiling faces at the weekends.”
Another patient wrote to the hospital to say: “I cannot praise the attitude of the staff more highly. I see the unit as a very effective and cost efficient use of NHS resources.
“I was able to go home in-between appointments and did not have to take up a hospital bed. I would like to thank Yeovil Hospital for opening this wonderful facility.”
Paul Mears, chief executive of Yeovil Hospital commented: “The success of the AEC Unit is a fitting tribute to Wayne. It has made an incredibly positive impact on our Emergency Department.
Since the unit has been open it’s saved five hospital admissions per day, that’s 150 a month. This reduces the time patients have to wait for a bed in the hospital and helps the Emergency Department hit its four hour waiting time target.
“Since we have redesigned how we work in the Emergency Department, Yeovil Hospital has consistently been in the top ten trusts in England for meeting the 95 per cent four hour wait target; the AEC unit has a lot to do with that success.
“Patients have told us they really value the unit and the way in which it delivers their care. The unit is part of our ongoing innovation in managing how patients arrive at the hospital and how they are discharged.
“GPs are able to refer their patients to the speciality teams who operate out of the unit and patients are then able to go straight to the AEC unit on arrival which ensures a smoother transition from community to hospital-based care for patients.”