A consultation paper on 'Emergency Department Capacity Management: Proactive Management of the Admissions Flow through Emergency Departments' was developed by a short-life working group in 2014. The purpose of the paper is to provide hospital sites with guidance on how to safely avoid crowding in Emergency Departments in Scotland.
In July 2015 NHS Lanarkshire offered to test the implementation of the guidance outlined within the consultation paper. NHS Lanarkshire has three acute hospitals with Emergency Departments ( ED) in each one. It was decided that initial testing would be carried out within Hairmyres Hospital with spread to Monklands and Wishaw Hospitals once initial processes had been established at Hairmyres.
In past winters, Hairmyres Hospital had struggled to cope with demand and they recognised there was a need to improve systems and processes to ensure safe and timely flow of patients from ED. This case study outlines the process and methodology that NHS Lanarkshire adopted to test the ED Capacity Management Guidance and ensure the safety of patients in the hospital, in the context of a wider programme of improvement work.