SDEC staff.JPGA new unit helping patients to attending the emergency department get the treatment they need sooner has opened at Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

The Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) unit, which is located next to the newly redeveloped emergency department at Winchester hospital, allows patients to be seen and assessed by specialist clinicians sooner, reducing the likelihood of them requiring an overnight stay in hospital.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Winchester hospital, as well as Andover War Memorial Hospital and Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, said:  “I’m really pleased that we have the unit set up and it is already a big difference to our patients.

“Not only does SDEC reduce the amount of time that patients spend in the emergency department, it also gives patients access to many of the services available to inpatients, such as assessment by senior clinicians and diagnostic scans, without needing them to be admitted to the wards.”

As well as being identified as suitable in the emergency department, patients can also be directly admitted to the unit by their GP or the ambulance service.

Patients suitable for treatment in the unit are mainly those who need to be assessed urgently, but may not require a hospital stay. This includes patients showing symptoms of conditions such as appendicitis, blood clots, gallstones and pneumonia.

This new way of caring for patients follows the success of an Ambulatory Care Unit and Emergency Surgery Ambulatory Clinic (ESAC), which opened at Basingstoke hospital earlier this year. It is hoped that opening a similar model of care in Winchester will mirror the results, reducing the amount of time patients spend in the emergency department and in hospital.