First anniversary for Acute Assessment Unit

As today marks the first anniversary for the Acute Assessment Unit (AAU), we reflect on some of its achievements over the past year.

On 27 November 2017, Ann James, Chief Executive at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, cut a ribbon to officially open the new unit, thanking both Livewell Southwest and local GPs for helping to make it happen. She said: “Staff from all the teams involved have shown real dedication and professionalism in turning this around and creating this new integrated service so quickly.”

Now, a year on, and the unit is consistently proving to be successful in providing alternative pathways to hospital admission. The unit regularly treats around 50 to 60 patients a day, which helps to relieve pressure on the nearby Emergency Department.

“Since moving to Derriford Hospital, we have seen a huge increase in the number of patients being seen and going home that day,” explains Rebecca Greenwood, AAU Operational Manager.

“Bringing all services together in one location has proved a great success, as patients can come in and be seen by any one of the streams, such as GPs, therapists, nurses, doctors and pharmacists. Where these patients would have previously needed to be admitted and placed in a hospital bed, they can now have assessments and diagnostic tests, have a treatment plan created and receive treatment all in one area, without the need to stay overnight. Ultimately, it is helping patients to get home quicker and to reduce the number of hospital beds required.”

The AAU, which is run jointly between University Hospitals Plymouth and Livewell, deals with minor illnesses and ambulatory care, as well as providing a dedicated pathway and space for patients with frailty. Patients are streamed from the Emergency Department, as well as referred directly from community services, such as GPs and specialist nurses, and the South West Ambulance Service Foundation Trust. Overall, the unit provides an opportunity for the whole system to work together and allows a multi-disciplinary team approach.

In September, the unit celebrated treating their 10,000th patient in only 10 months.

“We’re really proud of our achievements,” adds Rebecca. “Not only have we seen and treated a vast number of patients, but we are also working really well together collaboratively. Our staff have daily huddles, where we draw on experiences from the day before and consistently look for ways to improve, which is proving really effective.”