A new same-day emergency care service has reduced admittance to the West Cumberland Hospital by 30 per cent.

The West Cumberland has led the way with this new process which is likely to be introduced to the Cumberland Infirmary later this year.

Same Day Emergency Care of SDEC, is for patients who would normally be admitted to hospital.

It is a Government-led change of priorities from “admit to assess” to “assess to admit”.

It is aimed at ensuring patients spend less time waiting in hospital for the right treatment pathway to be decided for them. Now patients have input from senior decision makers at the very beginning of their visit to hospital, who can decide the right course of treatment for them.

A spokesman said: “This has improved patient flow in the hospital, freeing up valuable space in A&E and created a much more streamlined and efficient process for staff and patients alike."

Ward sister Nichola Mitchinson said: “I’m extremely happy with the improvements we have seen to the department because of the implementation of SDEC.

“Ultimately we now have more time to spend with patients, ensuring we get the patient to the right place at the right time in order to deliver the best care.”

The successful delivery of SDEC has required a change in thinking and working for staff.

They were asked to note down what they felt was working and what was less so in a communal meeting area, so that changes could be implemented quickly and efficiently. Cross functional working between teams’ has been essential to the process to create the best environment for patients.

Elaine Amor, the matron responsible for overseeing the emergency department at hospital, said: “SDEC has been fully embraced by our staff

“It did require a new way of thinking and an integrated approach between departments, something which has developed over the last few months.

“The positive effect SDEC has had on the staff and patients has been vast, even during the challenges of the last few months. Pressure has been relieved from A&E at a crucial time and all staff have felt the benefit of these changes."

Katie Poulton, consultant on the Emergency Admissions Unit at WCH, added: "We have seen a huge improvement in patient flow, wait times are reduced and staff morale is up because we are able to work in a much improved way.

"Practitioners want to work within the department; we’ve seen a massive increase in vacancies being filled."