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Eluned Morgan (L)

New expectations of health boards to improve experience, speed up access and reduce emissions in emergency departments

Disgwyliadau newydd ar fyrddau iechyd i wella perfformiad adrannau achosion brys

Evidence-based approaches to speed up assessment times, reducing the time people wait to be admitted to hospital and a focus on sustainability are some of the ways new quality standards will help to improve Wales’ emergency departments.

Health boards will be expected to deliver the Quality Statement for Care in the Emergency Department, which Health Minister Eluned Morgan launched today (15 March), to improve outcomes and experience for everyone attending Wales’ emergency departments.

The statement complements the Six Goals for Urgent and Emergency Care programme, which has developed new services to ensure people can get the right care, in the right place, the first time.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said:

“Building on the improvements we’ve delivered through the Six Goals for Emergency Care programme, the Quality Statement will provide health boards with clear direction on what good care looks like within our emergency departments across Wales.

“Our Six Goals programme has helped to ensure that people are being seen in the right place by the right person – that doesn’t mean that everyone always has to go to an emergency department when they need urgent care.

“It has also helped our major emergency departments outperform their counterparts in England in 14 of the last 17 months, in relation to the four-hour target. We are pleased the Office for National Statistics has recently confirmed that the published performance statistics for major emergency departments in England, Scotland and Wales are broadly comparable.

“But we know there’s much more to do to improve the standard and timeliness of care people receive when they go to emergency departments.

"We’ve listened to staff and to the public in developing this Quality Statement. The public want clear and frequent communication, to feel comfortable and warm and to be treated quickly but sensitively.

"And we know the dedicated and skilled staff working in these busy departments want a focus on timely flow of patients from departments into hospital wards, and access to better quality data to drive improvements to patient care.

These will be the priorities for us in the year ahead and I expect our national programme, clinical network and health boards to get behind delivering them.”

A new national ‘Green ED’ scheme is being funded by Welsh Government, in collaboration with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM), to embed sustainable working practices, reduce emissions, waste and costs in Wales’ 12 emergency departments.  

The Minister has also established a national task group to review emergency department measures. It will consider whether there are better measures of quality, value, experience and outcome for care provided in emergency departments to help inform the Welsh public about what to expect when accessing these services and to help drive improvements. It will focus on what matters most to people and what is clinically meaningful.

The National Clinical Lead for Emergency Care, Tim Rogerson, added:

“Emergency department staff work tirelessly 24/7 to deliver the best possible care to patients under relentless pressures.

“It is recognised that many challenges we face have both their causes and solutions outside of the emergency department footprint. However, clinical leaders are pleased to have a Quality Statement which brings focus on emergency departments, allowing us to prioritise the things in our gift and drive the quality of emergency care provided across Wales.”