Column published in Llaneli Star on 5th October 2016
For years whenever the subject of Prince Philip Hospital has hit the news it has usually been for negative reasons.
So last Friday I was delighted to stand alongside Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething, our MP Nia Griffith and SOSSPAN campaigners Tony Flatley and Brian Hitchman for some good news: the official opening on the new Acute Medical Assessment Unit
Three months after opening its doors the new style A&E unit at Prince Philip Hospital is exceeding expectations.
All the people who have worked hard to get the new model of working up and running gathered to together to celebrate their achievement, and to hear about its success in its first three months of operation.
The Hospital Director Dr Robin Ghosal told us patients are getting a better experience than a year ago. Ambulances are no longer stacked up; the average amount of time patients are staying in medical beds has nearly halved and 96% of people turning up at the minor injury unit are seen within the 4 hrs target waiting time - which is above the national target.
And word is spreading that things have improved at the hospital as more people are turning up to be treated. There’s been a 52% increase in emergency admission in the last year - up from 495 emergency admissions in August 2015 to 753 in August 2016.
But as a result of the new way of working the average amount of time patients are staying in medical beds has fallen by more than 3 days. The average length of stay for emergency patients was 9 days in August last year and was 6 days this August.
“The improvement in the performance of the new unit has surpassed our expectation. Patients are facing shorter waits, and being seen by the right person the first time. This is a better and more efficient way of working” Dr Robin Ghosal told us
We can never be complacent, as there are huge pressures on our NHS, with increasing numbers of frail elderly patients and staff shortages in some areas. But we should recognise the huge progress that has been made in Llanelli in the last year.