Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Ipswich: Fresh concerns about confusion in health service as eight people a day ‘misuse’ A&E department at Ipswich Hospital

09:14 22 April 2014

Praise for staff at Ipswich Hospital

Praise for staff at Ipswich Hospital

Hundreds of patients are still turning up at Ipswich Hospital’s accident and emergency department every month, even though their ailments could be treated by a GP or the 111 service, a new report has revealed.

shares

The figures, in a report to be discussed by health chiefs this week, show more than 1,200 patients went to A&E in Ipswich “inappropriately” between November and March – an average of eight a day. The news is likely to fuel concerns that emergency departments are put under too much unnecessary pressure by patients confused over where they should go.

For the five-month period, the county’s 111 and out-of-hours care provider Harmoni based a GP at Ipswich Hospital’s A&E unit. During this time, they saw 1,217 patients whose complaints could have been effectively dealt with elsewhere.

Last night, Ipswich Hospital spoke of the challenges of “delivering health care to people who need it”, and praised the work to tackle the issue. Spokeswoman Jan Ingle said: “We work in close partnership with GPs who work in primary care and in the out-of-hours service delivered by Harmoni. We have been delighted by this close partnership working over the past months.

“It has helped us immensely in becoming one of the top 10 hospitals in the country for treating people within four hours.

“It is challenging to deliver health care to people who need it. We have noticed growing demand, with figures showing a significant increase in the number of people attending A&E this year. It is through our partnership work that we are trying to understand why this happens.”

The A&E figures are contained in a report reviewing the success of out-of-hours GP and NHS 111 services in Suffolk, which will be discussed by the county’s health scrutiny committee on Wednesday.

The county’s 111 service was set up in February 2013 to provide patients with prompt medical help for urgent complaints that do not require a 999 emergency response.

The report suggests the misuse of A&E would have been worse if it was not for the 111 hotline.

A survey, carried out by Harmoni in January, asked more than 60 callers if they would have contacted or visited another service about their health problem had it not been available.

Of those to respond, 41% said they would have either dialled 999 or visited A&E.

Calls to 111 are answered by trained advisers, supported by nurses, who advises patients of the appropriate service or outcome, which may include further clinical advice, or referral to an out of hours service doctor or advanced nurse practitioner – but most calls result in a GP appointment.

At Wednesday’s council meeting, the health scrutiny committee will consider arrangements for recommissioning of the out-of-hours GP and NHS 111 services from April 2015.

Health scrutiny committee chairman Tony Goldson said: “We must build public confidence in the 111 service.

“With the service due to be re-tendered, I have asked Harmoni to report to the committee and tell us where they are. We have to be sure that the service we are getting is the best it can possibly be.

“I want Harmoni to paint a picture of where they see the service when it comes to being re-tendered. If the intention is to make the service better, we need to ask how Harmoni can achieve that.

“Harmoni has been working hard and I now want commissioners to outline their vision for the future.”

shares

1 comment

  • I ended up in A&E one afternoon as my doctors surgery was closed (due to 'staff training'). I knew I had a chest infection and just needed antibiotics. Called the OOH doctors who said I needed an ambulance because I had chest pain (obviously you do have chest pain when you have a chest infection). I refused this but went up to A&E on my own accord as I did need to be seen. Four hours later and a pack of antibiotics and I was finally away. What a waste of their time... I think patient records should be shared between surgeries so you can go to a different location if your doctors is closed for any reason. Some may say I wasted their time - not really, I was told to go. Doctors surgery appointments are another barrel of laughs...

    Report this comment

    AJ

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

A large farming trailer carrying potatoes has overturned on the B1102 between Freckenham and Worlington.

The B1102 in Freckenham is blocked after a trailer load of potatoes overturned.

The opening of the new petanque bowls piste at the Riverside Centre, Stratford St Andrew - Suffolk Coastal District Councillor Phillip Dunnett with parish clerk and member of the centre committee Debbi Tayler

More than 30 people turned out for the opening of a boules rink at The Riverside Centre on Saturday.

Traffic chaos caused by flooding on the A143 near Bury St Edmunds.

The final summer bank holiday of the year was a wash out, causing traffic chaos in parts of Suffolk, with roads flooding and cars getting stuck.

Photo caption: (L-R) Courtney Culf, Cllr TJ Haworth-Culf, Cabinet Member for Customers, Communities and Leisure, Cllr Geoff Holdcroft, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources, Cllr Ray Herring, Leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council, Cllr Andy Smith, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Coastal Management and Peter Lanceley, Operations Manager at Suffolk Coastal Norse.

Extra play equipment costing £150,000 has been unveiled to give youngsters a late summer boost.

1940s-themed Lavenham Carnival.

Stiff upper lips and raincoats helped a west Suffolk village brave the elements and celebrate their 1940s-themed carnival yesterday.

Police were called to the crash

Eight motorists have been injured after a five-vehicle crash involving a tractor in Stoke Ash.

Some of the dvds seized in the Southwold raid by Suffolk trading standards officers

A Suffolk Trading Standards inquiry into an alleged pirate DVD network, which made around £700,000, has led to the arrests of five people in three counties.

Sharon Buckler and Sue Ayres, deputy mayor of Sudbury, in the newly-restored auditorium in the Quay Theatre.

The unveiling of the newly restored Quay Theatre auditorium in Sudbury has been declared a day the volunteer who made it all possible would have been proud of.

Nikos Savvas and Alan Whittaker of West Suffolk College and One sixth form

Two of the biggest education providers in Suffolk are today joining forces to create an academy trust which is designed to raise standards in the county.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages