Hywel Dda Chief Executive Steve Moore has heaped praise on staff and clinicians working at Prince Philip Hospital’s Acute Medical Assessment and Minor Injuries units, as new figures show they are smashing performance targets and leading the way in modern medicine.
Mr Moore described the Llanelli-based hospital as the “jewel in the crown” of the health board, after it became the only acute site in Wales to hit a national NHS target of treating 95 per cent of patients within four hours, including during the difficult winter period.
The Acute Medical Assessment Unit (AMAU) and Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) opened last year as part of the health board’s Welsh Government-funded £1.4m Front of House project. Since then the hospital has consistently hit targets for patient discharge times, waiting times and average length of stay – despite seeing an increase in emergency admissions.
The project has been so successful that the hospital has been inundated with requests to visit from senior clinicians and management teams all over the UK, eager to understand how the new clinical care pathways are benefiting patients in Llanelli and beyond.
Addressing staff during a visit to the hospital, Mr Moore said: “You should be very proud of yourselves – you have been a jewel in the crown of Hywel Dda. Prince Philip Hospital is the only hospital in Wales to have achieved the 95 per cent target throughout the last year – it’s remarkable. It’s a great achievement for staff but it is even better for the patients. I would like to express the Board’s huge gratitude to everyone for what we have done here.
“There are real lessons here for everyone to learn at all levels in the health board and beyond. Prince Philip Hospital is showing that we don’t need to have a bottleneck at the front door; we are really at the cutting edge of this new way of working. It’s fantastic for the patients we serve and for the people of Llanelli.”
New data shows that 40 per cent of patients who are admitted to the AMAU with a medical emergency are now going home within 24 hours – compared with 25 per cent under the old A&E / Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU) based service.
The average length of stay at Prince Philip is now 6.8 days for emergency medical admissions, compared with 8.8 days under the old system – despite the hospital admitting an average of 200 more patients a month than it did before.
In the Minor Injuries Unit, 97 per cent of patients are now being discharged within four hours, compared to 89 per cent under the CDU service – and they are also now waiting for around 45 minutes less to be seen, on average, than they were before.
And the benefits to the hospital and its patients are already being felt, as it was also revealed that GPs are queuing up to work there.
Dr Meinir Jones, GP Lead for the Front of House project, added: “One of the biggest challenges when we started here was how we were going to staff the units. But now we’ve got a lot of GPs wanting to come and work at Prince Philip. They’re a really good bunch here; we’ve got a fantastic breadth of knowledge. It’s just about thinking differently and being flexible”
Dr Robbie Ghosal, Consultant Respiratory Physician and Hospital Director, added: “We wouldn’t have been able to make this happen if it wasn’t for the doctors and staff on the ground wanting it to happen. It’s one of the nicest hospitals I’ve ever worked in and it has never lost its sense of identity.
“Prince Philip Hospital is ‘the place to work,’ with an unrivalled team spirit, and a focus on effective Clinical Leadership. We are proud to have effective Physicians that work closely together to deliver this level of target performance and advance the care provided to our patients.”