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GHA Minor Injury Unit cuts A&E wait times at peak times – 308/2023

By May 16, 2023 No Comments

The GHA’s new Minor Injury Unit, located in A&E, has been seeing and treating patients with important non -urgent attendances do that they can be quickly addressed. The service has been up and running since the 3rd April 2023. During this trial period it has significantly reduced waiting times for these patients as well as within A&E overall.

The Minor Injuries Unit is located in a dedicated area of A&E, and consists of one consultation room, where patients are assessed, and one treatment room. The GHA estimates that up to 50% of the patients that attend A&E can be seen in the Minor Injury Unit.

Prior to the Unit opening, patients presenting at A&E were treated on a ‘first come first served’ basis unless they were very ill, in which case they are prioritised. The consequence of this system was that someone with a minor injury or illness who needed a brief intervention may have had to wait a long time for their turn.

Since the creation of the Minor Injury Unit, these patients are triaged into a separate queue and seen directly by dedicated clinical staff consisting of nurse practitioners and a doctor with expertise on minor injury and illness. This improves wait times and also reduces the pressure on the senior medical team, allowing them to concentrate on those presenting at A&E with more acute or life-threatening injuries / illnesses.

A&E Consultant, Raj Nagaraj, said: ‘Nearly 50% of patients presenting at A&E have minor injuries but because of the old triage system could be waiting for a long time, sometimes hours, to be seen. The significance of this unit is that minor injuries and illness can now be fast-tracked and seen directly by a Nurse Practitioner. This has greatly expanded the clinical services that can be provided as urgent care to patients with non-life-threatening injuries.’

GHA Director General, Patrick Geoghegan, said: ‘This is about allowing the incredible staff at A&E to work in a modern and smart way. With this restructured pathway, patients can be triaged in a way that allows them to be seen in the quickest way that is appropriate for their case, and allow for the best treatment possible. The creation of the Mobile Health Unit has been led by these fantastic clinicians who saw its potential and ran with it, and I’m sincerely thankful to them for their hard work and foresight, which is already making a hugely positive difference to the patient experience.’

Note to Editors:

Total patients seen from 03/04/2023 until 13/05/2023: 440 patients

• Time from triage to seen: 18 minutes
• Time from arrival to triage: 31 minutes
• Time from seen to discharge: 39 minutes
• Total time in the department: 71 minutes

The types of injuries/illnesses treated can include:
• Injuries to upper and lower limbs.
• Broken bones, sprains, bruises and wounds.
• Bites – human, animal and insect.
• Burns and scalds.
• Abscesses and Wound Infections.
• Minor Head Injuries (with no loss of consciousness)
• Broken noses and epistaxis,
• Foreign bodies in eyes and nose.
• Superficial foreign bodies in skin.
• Minor illness, earaches, sore throat, etc.
• Skin problems such as rashes.
• Conjunctivitis.
• Cough/cold symptoms.

Some of the conditions that are excluded from Minor injuries units are:
• Problems usually dealt with by a GP
• Conditions likely to require hospital admission
• Chest pain
• Breathing difficulties
• Major injuries
• Stomach pains requiring investigations
• Gynaecological problems
• Pregnancy problems
• Severe allergic reactions
• Overdoses
• Alcohol related problems
• Mental health problems