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Care role is thought to be a first


New staff are helping to speed up treatment at Newark’s accident and emergency department in a scheme thought to be the first of its kind in the country.

Four acute care practitioners have been employed by Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust and are based in casualty, although also work on the wards.

One of their main roles is to travel with critically-ill patients during transfers from Newark to King’s Mill Hospital, Sutton-in-Ashfield, 22 miles away.

Previously, a casualty doctor would have to make this trip but the new practitioners arequalified to provide the necessary care, freeing doctors to treat other patients.

They work 12-hour night shifts Monday to Friday to provide extra cover when there are fewer staff, and also 24 hours at weekends and Bank Holidays.

The acting accident and emergency consultant, Mr Rajan Chowdhary, said the acute care practitioners helped the department to treat patients quicker.

Mr Chowdhary said: “They look after patients who are critically ill. They don’t have their own patients so they don’t oversee treatment or discharge patients. Having them here has been marvellous.”

The A and E nurse manager, Mrs Sue Sterling, said thepractitioners allowed her and her staff to spend more time treating the other patients.

“When they aren’t here I would do the blood tests and maintain the airway instead, so having them here has been very good, very positive,” she said.

About 15% of the 30,000 patients treated each year at Newark’s accident and emergency department are critically ill. They are stabilised and then transferred as Newark does not have an intensive care unit.

It also does not have an orthopaedic department or paediatric unit.

While on the wards, the acute care practitioners — Mr Mick Coppin, Mr Simon Parkes, Mr Neil Jordan and Mr Vincent Hannington — monitor patients who are in for routine operations but are at risk of developing more serious conditions, such as breathing difficulties.

Mr Coppin previously worked in the operating department at King’s Mill for ten years and has experience of emergency surgery and resuscitation.

“The main part of the job is critical care management so we are managing critically-ill patients, which means the doctors and nurses can be getting on with what they need to do to help the patients,” he said.

He said the role was still evolving as they worked out how they could best help in each department.

The nurse manager at Newark, Mr Andrew Jones, said: “We decided we needed someone who could look at patients on the wards, somebody with advanced clinical skills who could do assessments and someone who could help with the transfer of patients.

“In the next few months we will have an assessment of the role and after that we will talk to the trust about providing acute care practitioners in other hospitals.”

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