HEALTH chiefs in Wirral will use a £90,000 cash injection to employ a team of specialist accident and emergency nurses, it was announced yesterday.
The Emergency Nurse Practitioners will be introduced to help streamline the A&E department at Arrowe Park Hospital and reduce patient waiting times.
The money has come from an £11.3m Government package for the North West, announced last week.
It will mean a total of £91,523 is given to Wirral Hospitals' NHS Trust over the next two years to implement new strategies to reduce long waits in the A&E department.
Jo Goodfellow, directorate manager for Arrowe Park's general medicine and accident and emergency, said: "We are pleased about the funding as it will enable us to make a start with the introduction of ENPs who are specially trained in delivering care in an A&E environment.
"It is very much hoped that this development will benefit patients by reducing the time they have to wait to receive treatment."
Under the initiative, no patient spending more than four hours in A&E from arrival to admission, transfer or departure. It will complement the hospital's new £1m, 60-bed admissions unit.
The unit, due to be built on the first floor of the hospital, will act as a filter allowing patients who have been brought into hospital as a medical emergency to be
assessed before being admitted or discharged.
Chief nurse and director of operations, Paul Holt, said: "This unit will improve the quality of the admissions process for medical emergency patients and minimise the need for them to occupy
beds in surgical wards. Hopefully, this will enable the hospital to maintain levels of planned surgery and meet targets for reducing waiting lists."
The unit will be built above the accident and emergency department which is currently undergoing major refurbishment.
Work has now restarted after the company carrying out the renovation went into receivership last week.
A new contractor has now been appointed and it is anticipated the original completion date in January will be met.
It is the most radical refurbishment in the 20-year history of the accident and emergency department.
Among the improvements are a more comprehensive decontamination unit to deal with chemical-related incidents, better information for patients about when they will be seen and a more userfriendly A&E reception area.
Other changes include 14 wheelchair-accessible cubicles, a newly-developed 11-trolley bay assessment area and separate waiting areas for adults and children, a new front entrance with automatic doors, disabled toilets, an enhanced relatives' area and security office.