Make the Right Call: Emergency nurse practitioner backs campaign as seasonal demand increases

The emergency department at West Suffolk Hospital

The emergency department at West Suffolk Hospital - Credit: Archant

Seasonal demand at West Suffolk Hospital saw nearly 4,500 patients turn up at the A&E department last summer, according to figures.

Those patients are assessed on their arrival with many seen by the hospital’s emergency nurse practitioners who deal with minor injuries such as sprains and strains, wounds, foreign bodies in eyes, eye conditions, infections and minor fractures.

One of those, Grace Haystead, has worked in her role at the Bury St Edmunds hospital for 10 years.

She said: “We see 50% more patients in the summer than we do the winter and there are a proportion of patients who would be better seeing their GP or another service.

“We get a lot of patients who have been advised by their GP, practice nurse or NHS 111 to attend the A&E.


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“Patients are triaged and from that we are able to determine which patients come and see an emergency nurse practitioner and who needs to see a doctor.”

Mrs Haystead has backed the EADT’s Make the Right Call campaign which aims to direct people towards the right healthcare provider whether it is their GP, pharmacy, NHS 111 or A&E, over the next three months.

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She said: “The Make the Right Call campaign is extremely important because the more we are swamped with patients that can go elsewhere, the less time we can spend with the patients who are appropriately here. It slows down the whole system.”

As part of her role, Mrs Haystead, 53, assesses and diagnoses patients, requests X-rays and discharges patients to the care of their GP.

“We generally see patients who we term as minor injuries,” she added. “We sometimes refer to medical colleagues for assistance or advice, or colleagues in hospitals for admission.”

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