Health Service Focus

04.02.20

Emergency crews and patients to benefit from new POD facility

Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust has introduced a new POD facility to reduce waiting times for patients who arrive by ambulance.

The POD (Patient Offload Department) has been installed outside the Royal Gwent Hospital’s Emergency Department to enable health care professionals to see to patients more quickly during busy periods.

It comes following a partnership between Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust.

Inside the POD there are six hospital beds able to accommodate patients when the emergency department is full and they would otherwise have to wait.

With growing demands on emergency departments, ambulance crews often have to wait outside the hospital with patients until space in the hospital becomes available, meaning emergency 999 calls could be left waiting longer.

Ambulance crews who need to answer emergency calls across Gwent are able to safely and quickly transfer patients to the hospital thanks to the new POD, and then return to the roads.

December 2019 saw the Health Board’s Emergency Department have the busiest month on record, with 14,533 patients seen, an 8% increase on the previous busiest month on record in December 2018.

Claire Birchall, Director of Operations at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said:

“We have worked with the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust to introduce this new ‘Patient Offload Department’ to facilitate the swift transfer of ambulance patients into our Emergency Department at the Royal Gwent.

“This new facility will enable paramedics to offload their patients more quickly and get back out to answering 999 calls in the community.

“The POD provides six beds in a safe and comfortable environment, which will improve the care we are able to give patients who may have otherwise be cared for in the back of an ambulance at times when the Emergency Department is full.”

Darren Panniers, Area Operations Manager for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said:

“The Patient Offload Department at the Royal Gwent Hospital will provide a safe, dignified ‘offload’ area for up to six patients brought to hospital by ambulance if the Emergency Department is full, as well as disabled toilet facilities, hospital trolleys, medical gases and monitoring.

“We recognise that, in isolation, this will not solve the problem of handover delays, but it’s a practical step in the circumstances to ensure ambulances can be released faster, especially during the busy winter period.”

 

Photo/Video: Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust

 

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