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Publication Date: 09/03/2010 

Lanarkshire A&E teams praised for their efforts during cold snap 


Monklands A&E Team 

From left, staff nurses Jacqui Templeton and Jill McNulty with Dr Joe Daly and senior charge nurse Alison Maciver from the Monklands A&E team. 

Accident and emergency (A&E) staff at NHS Lanarkshire have been praised for their “remarkable” efforts during some of the coldest weather in decades.

Icy conditions and heavy snowfalls led to emergency care departments experiencing some unprecedented rises in the number of patients attending with injuries due to slips, trips and falls.

But despite these challenges, 98% of patients in December and 99% in January, spent less than four hours in A&E between arrival and admission, transfer or discharge.

Rosemary Lyness, NHS Lanarkshire’s director of acute services, said: “This is a great achievement by all emergency care teams in all our hospitals and our colleagues in primary care.

“Despite some of the worst weather in decades the staff went the extra mile getting to their work and working incredibly hard to see and treat patients as quickly as possible.

“These results are a tribute to the remarkable work of all our staff and I would like to congratulate them for all their efforts.”

NHS Lanarkshire’s A&E units had their busiest day of the cold snap on 14 December with an unprecedented number of patients – more than double the usual number.

Across the three sites, more than 1000 patients were seen, more than has ever been experienced before.

A&E consultant Dr Ian McLaren, who works at Monklands Hospital, said: “We saw a large increase in the number of patients attending with injuries due to slip, trips and falls.

“This was due entirely to the conditions on roads and pavements.

“We therefore took the decision to issue a warning urging everyone to take care if they were outdoors and advised elderly people to stay inside until conditions improved if possible.”

The Scottish government (A&E) Health Efficiency Access Target (HEAT) states that 95% of all patients arriving at an A&E department must be either admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours of arriving.

NHS Lanarkshire’s three A&E units, at Wishaw General, Monklands and Hairmyres hospitals have consistently exceeded this target since January 2008.