The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, was given a behind-the-scenes glimpse into a busy Friday evening at Whipps Cross Hospital’s emergency department as he shadowed the consultant in charge on 9 November.
Dr Imran Zia, Whipps Cross’ clinical director for emergency medicine, showed Mr Duncan Smith how he and his team care for local people needing urgent and emergency treatment.
Last year, Dr Zia’s department cared for some 170,000 people – an increase of around 10,000 on the year before. They currently see around 500 patients through their doors every day.
Mr Duncan Smith was able to see first-hand how Whipps Cross staff strive to ensure patients receive the very best care in the face of this rising demand. He was part of the evening handover, where doctors and nurses discuss how they will assess and treat all the patients. He then observed as Dr Zia and his colleagues attended to patients with a range of needs, from fractures and falls to breathing and heart problems.
The experience provided a practical insight to how Whipps Cross Hospital is preparing for what is expected to be a busy winter, and how the Trust’s staff work tirelessly to provide compassionate care for patients.
Iain Duncan Smith MP said: “I spent three hours on Friday (9th November) with the team in A&E at Whipps Cross Hospital and found the experience remarkable. I saw first-hand the long hours and antisocial hours all members of staff put in to caring for people in need of emergency assistance. Whilst there I saw serious decisions being made to assist people with often life threatening conditions, being dealt with in a caring, compassionate, professional and efficient manner.
“We continue to owe a debt of gratitude to all members of staff working in the NHS from medical staff through to ancillary staff who are all part of such an incredible health service and I would like to personally thank all the team at Whipps Cross hospital who I met during my shift.”
Dr Imran Zia said: “We were delighted to host Mr Duncan Smith at our emergency department. It was great to show him our work, and highlight how, despite being very busy, we were able to prioritise safe and compassionate care for our patients.””
This year the Trust has put aside £2.4m to relieve emerging pressure points as the busier months approach. Ensuring patients can be treated as quickly as possible is an utmost priority, and it’s important that enough beds are available in wards. Whipps Cross Hospital now has the capacity to open 24 more beds this winter if necessary. The hospital has already extended the opening hours of its ambulatory care unit which looks after people who need urgent care but do not require an overnight stay in hospital. Extra therapists are also being put in place in the emergency department and on the wards.
In addition, the hospital has recently opened a new discharge lounge which provides a comfortable area for patients as they prepare to leave hospital while freeing up more space on its wards. Using the lounge helps make sure beds can be available on wards for people who need to stay in hospital after a trip to the emergency department.