In recent months, two main options for change have been discussed with patients, staff and stakeholders. Both options would have seen significant changes to the way the three A&E departments at Broomfield, Basildon and Southend hospitals operate.
Having studied the available evidence and listened carefully to the views of local people, patients and stakeholders, clinicians and health leaders have now decided to develop a revised model that would enable all three current A&E departments to continue to treat people who need emergency hospital care, including continuing to receive ‘blue light’ emergency patients with serious conditions. It would rule out the blanket redirection of all ‘blue light’ ambulances to Basildon, as in previous options.
Under this plan, patients would be assessed, stabilised and treated in their local hospital, with the most unwell patients transferred to a specialist team, if that’s what they need. The ‘norm’ would be for people to go to their local hospital in an emergency. As before, all three A&E departments would continue to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and run by consultants.
As now, a small number of people who are very seriously ill would go straight to a specialist centre to get the best treatment (for example, people suffering severe burns already go to Broomfield in Chelmsford).
Senior doctors are currently looking in detail at the clinical evidence to see if there are other severe conditions that may require this approach – for example for people suffering from burst blood vessels in the brain or heart, or people with very severe abdominal bleeding requiring urgent emergency surgery. This work is not yet complete but doctors are focusing on it over the next few months.
Clare Panniker, Chief Executive of Basildon, Broomfield and Southend Hospitals, explained:
“We have been looking at how we could organise services across our three main hospital sites, working together and using our people and resources as effectively as possible for the greatest benefit for patients.
One of the improvements we want to make is to separate out emergency care from planned operations and treatments needing an overnight stay, to reduce the number of times we have to cancel planned operations. We know when this happens it is frustrating and difficult for those patients and their families. We also want our three hospitals to work together, offering different specialist services at each of our sites.