WAITING times in A&E and minor injury units are now available to view online as part of a bid to encourage the public to consider where they go for treatment.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has made the information available in real time on its website.
The data updates every five minutes and lists how many people are in the county’s A&E departments at the Alexandra and Worcestershire Royal Hospitals, as well as the longest waiting time to see a doctor or nurse. The same information is also given for the county’s minor injuries units.
In recent years health chiefs have been trying to encourage more people to use MIUs – such as the one at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bromsgrove (POWCH) – for conditions including minor burns, wounds and broken bones as they are under used while A&E departments are struggling to cope.
About 11.30am on Wednesday there were 33 people in A&E at the Alex with the longest waiting time just over an hour. At the Worcestershire Royal 50 patients were in the department with the longest wait almost two and a half hours. In contrast just nine people were in the MIU at POWCH with the longest wait just 23 minutes.
The move is part of a wider strategy to deliver more urgent and emergency treament in the county’s MIUs.
A formal link has been created between Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the major A&E departments and the MIU in Kidderminster, and Worcestershire Health and Care Trust which runs MIUs in Bromsgrove, Malvern, Tenbury and Evesham.
The aim in the short-term will be to standardise the service across Worcestershire and allow MIU staff to benefit from being able to access advice from specialists within the Acute Trust and increased training.
But in future it is hoped the units could deal with a greater range of patients needing emergency ambulatory care – those who require urgent attention but can be assessed, diagnosed and treated but are able to go home on the same day.
Stewart Messer, chief operating officer for WAHT, said: “One of the key aims is to build public confidence in these MIUs. At the moment they are not utilised to their full extent.
“It’s about making sure there’s a consistent service so every MIU you visit across the county has the same service, at the moment it is a bit ad hoc, you can get an x-ray here and an x-ray there.”