Trial sees third not in need of A&E care at Romford hospital
PUBLISHED: 16:00 19 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:00 19 May 2016
More than a third of walk-in patients who attended A&E at Queen's Hospital on Monday were assessed as not needing emergency care.
The hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford, mimicked the way emergency care was provided during the junior doctors strike in a one-day trial.
On arrival, a consultant assessed patients to ensure services were being focused on the most vulnerable.
A total of 78 were found to not require emergency care and were redirected to other services, such as walk-in centres and pharmacies.
The trial is part of the hospital’s attempts to ensure services are being used correctly.
A hospital spokeswoman said the trial may be repeated, but there are no concrete dates or plans in place at the moment.
Ayo Ahonkhai, divisional director for acute medicine at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), which runs Queen’s Hospital, said: “Monday was a particularly busy day for us, so if we hadn’t redirected patients they would have experienced longer waiting times.
“The most important thing to know is that if it’s not an emergency, it will be much quicker and more convenient for people to go elsewhere – such as to their GP or pharmacist – rather than sit and wait in our emergency department.
“We must see the patients who are most in need first, so those who do not require emergency care will always have to wait longer.”
In March, emergency departments at Queen’s and King George hospitals saw record attendances.
March 14 saw a spike in demand, with 830 people requesting emergency treatment at the hospitals in Romford and Goodmayes.
On social media, the trial provoked a positive reaction.
Kimberley Fraser said: “I think it’s a great idea that will stop people using A&E as a doctor’s surgery.”
Susan Chester agreed, saying, “A&E has always been for emergencies. If not urgent, use a walk-in clinic.”
Others complained that the long wait for GP appointments was having a knock-on effect.
Maria Elena Adams said: “I approve of people being sent away if they are genuinely pulling a fast one. Bad thing is most people end up in A&E because their GPs won’t see them for two to three weeks.”