Emergency patients will be seen more quickly by senior doctors and nurses thanks to a new unit which has opened at Pinderfields Hospital.
The emergency day care unit, which opened last week, will see patients who need a quick diagnoses and treatment, but are not likely to need admission to hospital.
Patients can be referred from A&E at both Pinderfields and Pontefract hospitals, as well as by GPs across the Wakefield district.
It is designed to give non-critical patients rapid care, while relieving pressure on Pinderfield’s A&E department, allowing it to focus on critically-ill patients in need of admission to hospital.
Dr Richard Shepherd, head of clinical service for the unit, said: “This system for seeing patients with urgent problems, but without the need for a hospital bed or overnight stay is already used very successfully and safely across the country.
“It is a way of making sure patients get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
“It also means hospital beds are kept for people who really need them.
“Patients prefer it because they don’t have to stay in hospital any longer than they need to and they are still able to be at home with their families overnight, even though tests and treatments may be ongoing.”
Based near A&E and X-ray, the unit is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, although it is hoped the opening hours will be extended to include evenings, to tie in with GP surgery opening hours.
It is staffed by a dedicated team of consultants, doctors, advanced nurse practitioners and healthcare assistants.
Dr Shepherd added: “We have worked closely with primary and community care colleagues to develop this service.
“The trust has focused on improving emergency care and the day care unit supports this work.”