Since the pandemic many hospitals have seen an increase in emergency department attendances and patients with more complex medical problems. Combined with the challenges in discharging patients this has led to increases in hospital admissions and longer waits in the emergency department.
To address this challenge the NHS is recommending new approaches to help hospitals decrease waiting times and get patients home sooner. One of these approaches is ‘same day emergency care (SDEC)’, a proven way of seeing and treating patients more quickly, preventing unnecessary overnight stays, and freeing up more beds for those who need them the most.
In November a new Same Day Emergency Care Unit was launched at Whipps Cross, part of ambitious plans to transform hospital, community, and primary care services ahead of the construction of the new hospital. SDEC will not be used as a substitute to emergency admission where it is genuinely needed but will instead provide faster treatment to a group of patients that would have previously been admitted for ward-based care. So far, the unit has assessed an average of 20-25 patients a day, with the majority being treated the same day before going home.
Transformation such as this is required to deliver a right-sized new hospital at Whipps Cross, and this enhanced model of care complements the SDEC department in the new hospital.
It has been co-designed with hospital clinicians and will provide comfortable patient waiting and assessment areas, co-located alongside a state of the art imaging and diagnostics department, to enable the delivery of efficient emergency care to our patients. The hospital’s clinical lead for acute medicine and ambulatory care, Dr Danny McGuinness, told us about the benefits this new approach will have: “Our goal is to provide excellent care while significantly improving the patient experience. Our new unit will enable us to transfer patients out of the emergency department early in their presentation freeing up valuable capacity and vastly improving efficiency.” is just one example of how we plan to deliver transformed pathways of care ahead of the new hospital being built, which will be embedded long before the hospital opens.