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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch Southend

Ambulance Handover Unit at Southend University Hospital

Southend University Hospital will host an Ambulance Handover Unit from next week with space for up to 12 patients.

EEAST and Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust are working together to reduce patient handover delays as ambulances arrive at Southend University Hospital. EEAST employees already work alongside hospital clinicians at handover and will continue to do this in the Ambulance Handover Unit. The facility will allow for some ambulances to safely handover patients meaning more vehicles and crews are available to attend emergencies in the south east Essex area.

This is a temporary solution to ease pressures and help the acute hospital meet the anticipated increase in winter demand. The external unit will be used to ‘cohort’ patients, allowing supervision under a dedicated clinician, rather than tying-up double staffed ambulance crews to wait to handover a patient for admission to the hospital.

Patients will be monitored regularly with nurses, healthcare assistants and ambulance crews checking on their condition before admission to the hospital emergency department.

The Ambulance Handover Unit, will be positioned near the ambulance unloading bays at Southend University Hospital, and will support an improved patient experience and allow ambulance crews to finish their shifts on time. We expect this to be operational by the week commencing 31 October 2022.

Tom Abell, Chief Executive at EEAST said:

“The introduction of an Ambulance Handover Unit at Southend University Hospital will release more vehicles and crews for responding to emergencies. It will also help us to meet the challenges of the coming winter months, when we know demand will increase.

“When people call 999 the public expect the ambulance service to attend, units like this will help make sure that we can.”

Andrew Pike, Chief Operating Officer and Acting Managing Director, Care Group 2 at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We are aware there are challenges in Southend, as the emergency department is quite small and means it quickly gets filled-up when there are periods of high demand. When surges happen, we want to ensure that patients can get the care they need as quickly as possible and be looked after in good accommodation. We hope this extra capacity will enable us to do that.”

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