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New role speeds up handover of patients 

Patients coming through accident and emergency onboard an ambulance are receiving a better service thanks to an innovative nursing change which has speeded up handover. Handover times between ambulance crews and hospital staff are monitored to ensure patients are handed over efficiently and in a timely manner. Mr Ajay Chawla, clinical lead for emergency care, said: “We always ensure we handover from the ambulance crews as quickly as possible however there are times when the departments are busy and this can take longer than we would wish.” The golden target is for patients to be handed over within 15 minutes, but there are times when this is over 30 or 60 minutes depending on how busy the departments are and the seriousness of the patients already being cared for by the emergency centre staff. If handover is delayed the patient continues to be cared for by the paramedic crew, rather than the hospital staff. Mr Chawla said: “We have introduced a nominated handover nurse and team on every shift at both our Scunthorpe and Grimsby emergency departments to ensure it is a smooth and swift as possible for patients.” Alex Afifi, group manager for acute care, said: “By ensuring there is a named contact and handover team on every shift for the crews to handover to and oversee the handover process we have seen a dramatic reduction in handover time for patients since this was introduced in mid-May.” Attendances at the Trust’s accident and emergency departments has increased considerably over the last two years. In 2015/16 150,288 people attended one of the Trust’s accident and emergency departments, compared with 144,996 in 2014/15 and 137,842 in 2013/14. Vanessa Tasker, matron at Scunthorpe hospital, said: “We know handover between ambulance staff and our staff can be delayed when we are busy and we do try to minimise delays wherever possible but sometimes they are unavoidable. We will continue to work on improving the handover process to make it as efficient as possible.” Alex said the Trust was continuing to monitor progress to ensure a timely handover was achieved for the majority of patients. Before the change Scunthorpe and Grimsby hospitals lagged behind the 21 other hospitals that the East Midlands Ambulance Service covers. He said: “Within the region we were in 19th and 20th position for Grimsby and Scunthorpe but since we have made the change we have moved to first and second position respectively from mid-May.” Anne-Marie Fowler, emergency care centre manager at Grimsby, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to improve the service for our patients coming through our doors as handover is the start of the patient experience in the emergency care department. “It also enables the ambulance crew to get back on the road as we recognise they are under enormous pressure as well. The emergency department can be extremely busy but we are always keen to ensure people have the best possible experience whenever they visit our hospitals.”

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