New hospital unit set to benefit patients

Patients with a range of conditions, who need rapid access to emergency assessment, diagnosis, treatment and senior decision-making, are set to benefit from the opening of a new Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU) situated next to the Emergency Department at University Hospital Ayr.

The CDU will open on Monday 13 January 2014, and sets the scene for the development of a new Combined Assessment Unit and redevelopment of Ayr Emergency Department as part of the ‘Building for Better Care’ project.

Patients in five clinical pathways will be managed in the CDU. These are: Head injury, Non- traumatic chest pain, Suspected Deep Vein Thrombosis, Acute renal colic and Post-sedation observation. These pathways are in addition to the Frail Elderly pathway pilots at both Ayr and University Hospital Crosshouse, which provide rapid assessment, treatment and/or referral of certain patients aged over 65.

University Hospital Crosshouse has had a Clinical Decisions Unit for seven years, caring for patients on 13 clinical care pathways.

Dr Crawford McGuffie, Associate Medical Director, said: “The CDU approach at University Hospital Crosshouse has had a significant impact on patient outcomes and we anticipate that this impact will be felt by staff and patients at University Hospital Ayr, too.”

Comparison of data from before and after the introduction of the pathways at Crosshouse shows dramatic reductions in the length of time patients wait for treatment, or, if they are admitted, the length of time they have to stay in hospital.

For example: Before the introduction of the pathways patients with non-traumatic chest pain stayed in hospital on average for 52 hours. After implementation of the pathway in the CDU this length of stay reduced to just over 15 hours. Those presenting with suspected DVT stayed for 139.2 hours (5.8 days) before the pathway and 4.5 hours after implementation. Previously suspected renal colic patients stayed 56.3 hours and now are diagnosed and managed within 16 hours.

Dr McGuffie added: “The addition of this service to University Hospital Ayr, and to the patients being cared for at this site, is both exciting and significant. We want to provide patient care that is safe, robust and of the highest quality, and the development of the CDU is another example of these benefits.”