The most significant ever programme of change to emergency and urgent health care services is set to take place.
Over £50 million will be invested over the next three years to transform services for patients across Scotland.
The plans will:
• Change the way that people are seen when they are admitted to hospital to make sure that they are treated as fast as possible;
• Look at how staff work so that people can leave hospital as soon as they are ready;
• Improve links with other areas of healthcare so that support is in place for people to be treated in the community if possible.
Health boards will increase the number of frontline staff and introduce more flexible hours, develop projects that offer options to be treated at home and offer separate facilities for minor injuries beside or close to the Emergency Department.
Health Secretary Alex Neil said:
“We are seeing more people than ever before coming to hospital as emergency admissions due to the ageing population.
“We also know that the majority of people who go to A&E don’t need to be there and could get more appropriate treatment somewhere else – such as a minor injuries clinic.
“That’s why we have looked at the whole system and developed this action plan to improve how quickly people are seen in our hospitals, who treats them and how quickly we can get them back on their feet at home.
“Emergency and urgent care is one of the great success stories of the NHS in Scotland, whether responding to the anxious concerns of parents about their child, looking after an elderly person who has had a fall, or dealing with a major traffic accident.
“We are making sure these services are fit for the future.”
Dr Jason Long Chair of the College of Emergency Medicine Scotland said:
“This is an important initiative that will improve emergency medicine across Scotland, and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate on this initiative.”
Mr Ian Ritchie President Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh added:
“I am sure that every clinician in the health service in Scotland would recognise these strategic themes as being important in the efficient and safe management of patients in the emergency context.
“I am particularly pleased to see the emphasis is not just on the front door but also on what happens to patients once their emergency condition has been deal with, and is moving on to what happens to them in the community.
“The Royal College of Surgeons fully supports this high level approach to considering the needs of patients in the National Health Service in relation to emergency work.”
Dr Neil Dewhurst President Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh said: “The College wholeheartedly supports this initiative.”
Over the last five years, we have seen an increase of nearly 7 per cent in A&E attendances, and due to an aging population this is forecast to continue to rise. If existing trends continue this could be an increase of 13.5 per cent by 2020.