New ACU unit opens at Altnagelvin

Mon, 26/04/2021 - 16:51 -- Editor

The first patients have over the past week received their care at the newly-expanded Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU) at Altnagelvin Area Hospital.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) are delighted to announce that the unit has moved to more expansive facilities on the second floor of the tower block,  will allow patients to be assessed, diagnosed and treated without needing to be taken to a medical ward or having an overnight stay in hospital.

Dr Tim Martin, consultant in the ACU, believes that the new expanded unit, the latest development as part of the No More Silos project, will greatly assist his team in the delivery of services, with patients and service-users benefitting from the more integrated approach.

“We take patients who would traditionally have been for hospital admission, rapidly assess them, treat them, and get them home on the same day without the need for a hospital stay.

“The extra space and facilities will be of great benefit to our staff and patients, allowing other specialists to come and join us and to give their opinion.”

The additional rooms and spaces available gives ACU the opportunity to expand, future-proofing the service and in time allowing them to take admissions directly from the community.

“When a GP knows someone needs hospital care, it is not of benefit for them to go and sit in the Emergency Department, but to get them instead directly to the medical team who will be looking after their care in the longer term. This relieves pressure on the ED, as well as getting the patient onto a treatment plan as quickly as possible,” Dr Martin concluded. 

The introduction of the newly expanded ACU facilities are the latest change as part of the Western Trust’s implementation of the No More Silos project, the Department of Health’s action plan to support and maintain urgent and emergency care services, making changes to existing services and introducing new ones to ensure that patients can access the right care, in the right place, and at the right time.

Since January another aspect of the No More Silos project, ‘Phone First’ has been in operation. This aims to encourage those with non-life-threatening issues to phone a dedicated number 0300 020 6000 before attending Emergency Department. Their call is then triaged, and they will be directed to the most appropriate location, which may be to proceed to the ED, be offered an appointment slot at an Urgent Care or Minor Injuries unit, or indeed to visit their own GP.

No More Silos is about greater collaboration and working together, breaking down traditional barriers and ways of working for the benefit of the patient and service user. ‘No More Silos’ is implementing changes to ensure that urgent and emergency care services across primary (GPs) and secondary care (hospitals) can be maintained and improved in an environment that is safe for patients and staff into the future.