Online experiment will show how busy A&E is
MESSAGES about how many people have arrived at the accident and emergency department at the Royal Derby Hospital in an hour – and how busy staff are – are to be posted on Twitter today.
Hospital bosses have decided to take part in a nationwide Tweet-a-thon on the social networking website.
The aim is to show the general public how busy its A&E can get.
They also aim to highlight situations where another NHS service – such as the non-emergency 111 number, a GP surgery or a walk-in centre – might have been more appropriate for a patient.
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The messages will be posted on the official Derby Hospitals NHS Twitter page.
Among staff involved in the project is Dr Iain Lennon, who said: "This is something we've not really tried before but it is particularly appropriate now, given that we're well into our winter season.
"This means our emergency department is already getting busy and, as a result, we want to make sure that people are choosing the right service for their condition.
"We're not quite sure exactly how the Tweet-a-thon will work, but hopefully we will be commenting on what is happening in the emergency department and about certain conditions where we can.
"We'll also try to inform people about things like how many people we have in the department in one hour or how many ambulances have arrived at any one point, just to give people an idea about how busy we are.
"It'll be interesting to see just how it works and what sort of response we get from it."
Last week, the Derby Telegraph reported how the hospital had met the national standard of seeing 95% of patients in the A&E department within four hours for seven consecutive months to October.
It was a target the city's hospitals trust missed during the previous financial year.
Staff said several new systems had been introduced to reduce waiting times.
But they said it was vital people who could be treated by their GP or by calling the non-emergency 111 number did not go to A&E, particularly in winter.
To follow the Tweet-a-thon, visit www.twitter.com/DerbyHospitals.