The NHS is facing a multitude of challenges from the increasing demands and needs of a growing and ageing population; pressure on staff is high and the delivery of essential services has to be made within tight funding parameters. Hospital accident and emergency departments (EDs) are experiencing significant trials in meeting demand. With around six million attendances in the three months to December 2017 alone1 – up 4% from last year – many hospitals are struggling to meet the target of either admitting or discharging 95% of patients within four hours.
Imagine that your job is to determine the best strategy of care for an NHS ED: typically, a lack of beds is making admitting new patients difficult, patient waiting times are already breaching five hours, but it’s only 4 pm and it’s going to get even busier soon. Your first instinct is to send more clinicians to the front door, but you are short staffed in every department. Experience tells you that