Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s chief has issued a rallying cry to the public to support and respect medical staff in A&E as heroic workers were honoured at an annual awards ceremony.
Wendy Swift, chief executive at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, spoke to The Gazette after the emergency department at the Vic won the coveted Chairman’s Award, with £1,000 to spend on their department, at the Celebrating Success Awards at the Empress Ballroom on Friday.
She praised all staff at the NHS trust and urged the public to do all they can to ease the pressure on A&E staff and health services with winter approaching.
Last winter, the Vic was named the worst in England for the amount of people left waiting in casualty for more than four hours, with just 40.1 per cent seen within that time in December. The national average was 77.3 per cent.
She said: “Every single one of our staff is a hero – if I could give an award to everyone I would.
“The A&E staff are the first people the public see when the chips are down. They are the first port of call. They are the unsung heroes – the room simply erupted on Friday night when they were announced as winners of the Chairman’s Award.
“There may be very serious emergencies they are dealing with when you arrive and you often don’t see the overall picture when you are in A&E.
“They are doing their best and they should be respected.
“Please think before you come to the emergency department. There are certain illnesses that you need to come here straight away for, absolutely.But if it is not an emergency and there are more appropriate places you can get treatment, then please do that.”
And she said Vic bosses - with the help of other health organisations - are doing all they can to help cut down the waiting times experienced last winter.
She added: “We are doing things differently with extra beds, we have opened 19 beds at Clifton Hospital to help with the flow of patients and getting them back home safely as soon as we can.
“We would urge people to use the right services and take preventative measures themselves such as having the flu vaccine. Everyone can play their part in ensuring they receive treatment in the most appropriate place.”
Earlier this year, six discharge facilitators’ were brought in to help free up beds occupied by patients ready to go home but unable to because they are waiting for equipment or care plans.
The Gazette will be running a series of features in the coming weeks to highlight how the public can help cut waiting times and direct themselves to get the right treatment.
In the meantime, for more information about the best treatment for you go to, www.bfwh.nhs.uk/our-services/hospital-services/emergency-department/when-to-visit/