Evaluating changes to emergency and urgent healthcare in England

Knowles, Emma (2012) Evaluating changes to emergency and urgent healthcare in England. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

The work presented here is for the degree of PhD by publication. I have selected seven papers for consideration, published in high quality academic journals between 2002 and 2011. I am the lead author on four papers and joint author on three. These papers derive from projects undertaken during my fifteen year research career at the School for Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield.
Whilst the services I evaluated varied in scope, my research forms a coherent body of work informing the evidence base on policy driven initiatives implemented within emergency and urgent care. I have contributed to the evidence base around three key aspects of evaluation: acceptability (patient, carer, and workforce), effectiveness, and equity with respect to three of the most significant recent changes within emergency and urgent healthcare in England: telephone delivered healthcare, new roles within
the workforce and, extended access and patient choice. Specifically, I have identified:
• Telephone delivered healthcare did not significantly change demand for
services: patient reported data suggested that NHS Direct was ineffective in
reducing demand for other health services across the whole system of
emergency and urgent care.
• Inequity in the use of new telephone triage services: those from poorer
socioeconomic groups or with communication difficulties were less likely to
have used NHS Direct than other groups.
• Problems with acceptability within a newly established workforce: although the
majority of NHS Direct nurses were satisfied with this new way of working, a
minority of staff found the work to be monotonous, posing a challenge to the
retention of staff.
• Clinical effectiveness of new roles within the workforce: a community based
service utilising paramedics with extended skills demonstrated that paramedics
can be trained to safely assess and treat older people with minor conditions
which in turn led to a reduction in the need for attendance at an emergency
department.
• Patient and carer acceptability of new roles within the workforce: whilst minor
acute health episodes do impact on patients and carers, initiatives such as
utilising paramedics with extended skills in the community have a positive
impact on the lives of these groups. Indeed, both groups reported high levels
of satisfaction, and carers reported needing to provide less input with physical
caring activities as a result of this new role being implemented.
• Where patients choose to seek care and their satisfaction with this care during
an emergency and urgent care episode: the majority of patients use multiple
services on their care pathway, a daytime GP as their access point to
emergency and urgent care, and are satisfied with their overall care during an
episode.
My work has demonstrated both the strengths and limitations of the policy related initiatives which I have evaluated. In particular my evidence regarding NHS Direct
indicated some limitations regarding this telephone based service. Policymakers must take note of this given their plans for the national roll out of the non-emergency
healthcare telephone service ‘NHS 111’, and if the telephone is considered as the medium for a single point of access to emergency and urgent care in the future. In
contrast, the evidence that I have provided regarding paramedics with extended skills was overwhelmingly positive. Policymakers should support, and commissioners should explore, this model of service delivery when considering how to utilise emergency care practitioners within a locality. As policymakers continue to move forward with a vision for integrated emergency and urgent care healthcare attention must be directed towards the potential impact this has on users of the emergency and urgent care
system.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Publication
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Nursing and Midwifery
Depositing User: Brian Watkins
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2015 15:32
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2015 15:35
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/52598
DOI:

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