New unit to relieve pressure on ED opens

Some Dunedin Hospital emergency department patients will be diverted to a new unit if they do not require urgent ED treatment.

The $1 million medical assessment unit opened yesterday.

It has been set up to reduce high volumes of patients in ED.

The department has been struggling to meet the six-hour time target for treatment or transfer.

Older people with multiple health conditions were the most likely to be diverted to the unit, which is on the seventh floor of the ward block.

Staffed by doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and social workers, it had eight beds and would open daily from 8am to 7pm, the DHB said in a statement.

Staff had been recruited internally and externally.

``We have employed senior registered nurses who have acute medical and/or emergency department experience.

``We have also recruited medical staff who have come from internal staff and we are actively recruiting additional doctors to back-fill their roles,'' medical general manager Janine Cochrane said.

Commissioner Kathy Grant was ``delighted'' with the new unit.

``The opening of the unit signals another move towards a more patient-centred model of care where services are brought to the patients, rather than sending patients around various services for care,'' Mrs Grant said.

Patients in the unit would be treated, discharged, or sent to an inpatient ward, depending on their need.



Well done, DPH.



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