A NEW unit is helping improve patient experience and reduce the number of people unnecessarily admitted to hospital.
The ‘ambulatory’ care units, which opened at Wansbeck and North Tyneside general hospitals earlier this year, mean patients who previously would have been admitted to hospital are treated more quickly as day cases instead.
Around 500 patients a month are using the facilities after being referred via A&E or directly by their GP for treatment, many avoiding an unnecessary hospital admission.
The new service means patients can be triaged and treated faster with GPs able to refer directly onto the unit, without any unnecessary delays or overnight stays.
Nancy Robson, of Bedlington, suffers from Bronchiectasis, a long-term condition which affects the airways of the lungs.
The 67-year-old needed a course of intravenous antibiotics to clear up her latest infection, attending the unit in Wansbeck every three days to get her cannula changed by specialist nurses.
Nancy said: “The care I have received on the unit has been truly first class and it fits around me and my life – rather than the other way round.
“Being able to come and go and have my treatment quickly means I am not stuck in a hospital bed when I don’t need to be.
“The nurses are fantastic and they have even trained my husband so that he can safely administer my antibiotics which means I only have to go back every three days – instead of every day.”
Maria Towart, nurse practitioner on the new unit at Wansbeck General Hospital, said: “Nobody wants to stay overnight in hospital if they don’t need to and ambulatory care is all about shaping our services around the needs of patients, making things more convenient for them and, as a consequence, reducing unnecessary hospital admissions.”
Both care units are open seven days a week, with nurses, doctors and consultants available to care for patients who arrive or are booked in for treatment.