More patients have been treated at Stamford Hospital’s minor injuries unit thanks to a successful nurse-led pilot scheme.
Emergency nurse practitioners took over the running of the unit at the start of last year in a six-month trial.
The scheme was made permanent after a positive pilot and the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust, which runs the Stamford site, says there are now more patients being treated year-on-year.
The minor injuries unit dealt with 8,190 patients in 2012, before the scheme was introduced, and 8,544 the following year. This year patient numbers have again increased in all but two months, and should that trend continue the total for 2014 should be higher than 9,000.
Sister and emergency nurse practitioner Julie Orr was appointed to lead the pilot scheme in January 2013. She said: “We have continued to see an increase in the numbers of patients at Stamford Hospital’s minor injuries unit, and with the emergency nurse practitioner-led service we are now working across both the Peterborough and Stamford sites, so that patients attending either hospital have a similar journey and the same high level of care.”
The trust puts the increase in patient numbers down to the new service, rather than a rise in particular injuries. Julie added: “In the lead up to the winter months there is usually an increase in coughs and colds and sprains, strains and potential fractures due to people slipping on ice or sports related injuries.”
Emergency nurse practitioners have at least eight years experience and are qualified to degree level or equivalent. They can diagnose and treat patients, order investigations, prescribe drugs or refer patients to another department.
Alongside its new staff the minor injuries unit also has a dedicated children’s area with a jungle-themed mural, funded by the Friends of Stamford Hospital.
The trust is redeveloping Stamford Hospital to make the most of the site by turning the John Van Geest ward into a nurse-led intermediate care unit and adding more services to the outpatients department. Other additions will include oncology and haematology services; procedure rooms including endoscopy, one stop haematuria clinic, dermatology, gynaecology and pain management; endoscopy, ante-natal services, imaging, expanded therapy and phlebotomy.