An acute trust in East Anglia has announced plans to create the UK’s first accident and emergency department that is specifically for older patients.
The plan for the new older people’s emergency department (OEPD) was unveiled earlier today by Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
“This is a massive step forward in enhancing emergency care for our patients”
It said its “innovative plans to transform the way it delivers emergency care” would see it introduce an emergency department that is “entirely dedicated to patients over the age of 80”.
As a result, when a patient over 80 arrives at A&E, they will go straight to OPED, where there will be a multi-disciplinary team consisting of doctors and emergency and older people’s medicine nurses.
Patients who require a longer admission will still then be admitted directly to one of the specialist older people’s wards, noted the trust.
Dr Martyn Patel, consultant for older people’s medicine, said: “Norfolk is home to one of the largest populations of older people in country, which is continuing to grow at a fast rate.
“We’ve got to do something that no-one else has done before in the UK, to ensure our older patients are able to receive the best care most appropriate to their needs in a timely manner,” he said.
As well as the new OPED, the trust said it would also be relocating its existing paediatric emergency department and tripling its size.
The expansion, as well as other improvements to the main emergency department, would be completed at the end of November, with further work planned for early 2018, said the trust in a statement.
The expanded paediatric emergency department means an increase in the amount of treatment areas from three to nine by Christmas, with space available to expand this to 15 early in 2018.
Trust chief executive Mark Davies said: “As a trust, we are committed to providing the best possible care for our patients, and developing the older people’s emergency department and expanding our paediatric emergency department both show how we are always looking at new and innovative ways to do so.
“This is a massive step forward in enhancing emergency care for our patients and I’d like to thank all those teams involved in the development,” he added.