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Emergency care faces urgent shake-up

PUBLISHED: 10:41 15 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:31 03 March 2010

EMERGENCY care is to undergo a radical change in Suffolk, as the health service struggles to cope with increasing pressures. The way that people with minor injuries are treated, and where, is just one of the issues that is being reviewed in a bid to revolutionalise emergency treatment.

EMERGENCY care is to undergo a radical change in Suffolk, as the health service struggles to cope with increasing pressures.

The way that people with minor injuries are treated, and where, is just one of the issues that is being reviewed in a bid to revolutionalise emergency treatment.

As the Evening Star reported in July, Ipswich Hospital was chosen as one of the first UK sites to take part in the two-year national Ideal Design of Emergency Access scheme.

It was selected because its patients – from across East Suffolk – are having to wait longer at Accident and Emergency particularly for less urgent cases, and to get admitted to hospital as inpatients.

The area is also finding it difficult to place people in nursing and residential care, and has been highlighted as a location where the ambulance service struggles to meet response times.

In addition to that, new NHS targets insist that by April 2002, 75 per cent of all patients in A&E will wait no longer than four hours to have their treatment from start to finish.

By 2004, 100 per cent of all patients will wait no longer than four hours.

A report by Rachel Hawkins, IDEA project manager, was presented to yesterday's monthly board meeting at the hospital.

It said the project aims to reduce patients' journey time, reduce variations in care, and improve patients' and carers' experience.

It stated: "It is clear that the challenging and far-reaching targets set within the NHS plan for emergency care will not be achieved within the current system of care delivery.

"Therefore a radical step change is required.

"The IDEA programme will involve developing and implementing a new model of emergency care, through multiple projects that span the whole spectrum of care."

Mrs Hawkins said leaflets about the project are being displayed at 44 GP practices in East Suffolk, as well as at Felixstowe Minor Injuries Unit and Ipswich Hospital's A&E department.

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