A&E department does a great job with resources it has

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On average staff at Milton Keynes Hospital A&E will see around 200 patients –EVERY day.

It will assess and treat patients with serious injury or illness, which could mean anything from a cut finger to a cardiac arrest.

Yet despite popular misconceptions and reports that A&Es across the country are close to collapse, the A&E facility runs like a well oiled machine.

That’s not to say the city of Milton Keynes does not need a new A&E, the focus of a campaign launched by the Citizen in February.

But it does it mean the department does a fantastic job with the resources it has.

A&E is made up of several units linked by a labryinth of corridors, bays and specialist treatment areas. It can appear quite intimidating and with the constant hustle and bustle very confusing, but a visit by the Citizen reveals it all fits together like a jigsaw puzzle.

The first thing brought to my attention is the Hospital Ambulance Status Screen and queue of patients coming in.

Up to 70 ambulances a day arrive at a separate entrance to walk-in patients and staff are quickly ‘scrambled’ to assess the needs of the patient.

If seriously injured they are immediately rushed into the trauma room which is equipped with all the latest high-tech machinery and resusciation equipment.

The area is also equipped with a peadiatric unit which is deliberately child friendly and features pictures on the walls, and more importantantly, on the ceiling, to distract often very poorly children.

If not required the trauma unit is quickly bypassed to a wait in the ‘handover’ area.

This is where patients are re-assessed with their details logged on to a computer which records waiting times.

From here the patient wil be directed on for treament in either ‘minors’,’ majors’ or on to the children’s A&E department which opened at the end of 2012, and designed to make children’s experience of hospital less traumatic. A&E also offers a specialist eye clinic, ‘plaster’ room, Olympic lounge designed for patients to relax in before being sent home and a bereavement room.

Above all this nursing monitoring station ensures patients are seen within a four-hour window. Waiting times are always a bone of contention and all hospitals are under a lot of pressure to achieve government targets.

Matron Jacqui Burnett explained: “Obviously we try to get patients treated as soon as possible. It’s in our interests to hit the four-hour target and most days we do. The hospital is fined if this is exceeded. There is also a financial penalty if ambulances are queuing for longer than 15 minutes on arrival at A&E.

“We’re aware of the Citizen campaign for a new A&E which we support. But life in the meantime goes on and we are making improvements all the time. We need new curtains and computer monitors in each cubicle which will be installed soon. And the aim is to become a paperless unit so that all notes are recorded on computer and eliminate the need for a white board which is still in use.”

Most of us will have experienced A&E at some time or another and for those who haven’t you can rest assured you’re in safe hands thanks to Jacqui and her dedicated team of medical and nursing staff. They are a credit to the NHS.

>Support the Citizen’s A&E campaign by signing our petition at www.miltonkeynes.co.uk