Reducing waiting lists at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department: ‘My job is to make sure that our A&E is not one big traffic jam’

Former Arnold School pupil Georgia Askey, 19, has a vital role as Patient Flow Assistant at the Vics A&E
Former Arnold School pupil Georgia Askey, 19, has a vital role as Patient Flow Assistant at the Vics A&E

A sharp increase in the amount of people visiting the A&E department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital during winter has seen a new role created to help ease pressure on the hard working staff.

Former Arnold School pupil Georgia Askey, 19, has just begun a new role as Patient Flow Assistant and in her own words the bubbly teenager says she “absolutely loves it.”

Patients waiting on trolleys in corridors

Patients waiting on trolleys in corridors

Georgia, who lives on Clifton Drive in Blackpool, says her role has been created to ease the flow of people in the emergency department.

Georgia supports transferring of patients out of the department and keeps the nurse in charge up to date with any flow issues and she lets the nurse know if there are no beds.

She answers the telephone and responds to relative queries.

They don’t have an infinite number of beds so she informs the nurse in charge when a bed is available on the ward.

Last year, ambulances were stacked up outside A&Es across the country

Last year, ambulances were stacked up outside A&Es across the country

And she says her new job has seen her going out with the ambulance service and working alongside medical staff gaining essential hands-on experience.

She says: “This is a brand new role created to reduce pressure on the nurses in charge and the emergency department.

“It is not a clinical role so I am there to support the nurses so that their clinical skills and time are not wasted.

“I help to ensure it is not one big stand still in emergency department.”

Every day 200 to 300 patients visit the emergency department and there can be 80 people at one time waiting to be seen.

Last December just four out of 10 patients waiting in casualty at Blackpool Victoria were seen within four hours making it the worst in England.

Despite the increase in pressure on staff in winter months Georgia remains full of positivity about being part of a dedicated team.

She says the people she meets and the reward of helping others makes the hard work worth it.

She says: “I absolutely love it. It is such an interesting job.

“The best bit is the people.

“Most of the people that come in are so lovely.

“It’s such a nice feeling to know that you are doing all these good things for people.

“I have been out working with ambulance staff and nurses.

“Everyone is so welcoming and my colleagues are so lovely.”

Georgia admits staff can be under immense pressure.

And she says this pressure can be made greater by people coming to the emergency department when they don’t really need to or not leaving once they have been seen.

She says: “At times we can have nowhere to put everyone.

“It is all about working with the flow.

“Some people do come who don’t need to be here and some people don’t want to leave.”

Georgia, who has been working at the hospital for one month, used to work in children’s social services for Lancashire County Council but after 18 months she says she realised she did not want a 9-5 job.

She says the variety of her new role suits her better.

She says: “No two days are the same but every day I go to bed meetings where we discuss who is waiting for a bed, who is being discharged and how many beds we need so that everyone knows what pressures we are under.

“I am also involved in medical handovers where nurses catch up with each other before they leave and hand over to someone else. It’s a way of updating each other about the patients.”

The overstretched department won the Chairman’s Award at this years Celebrating Success Awards at The Empress Ballroom, something staff are immensely proud of.

Georgia says it would be impossible to live in the NHS working environment if you were not dedicated, passionate and enthusiastic about your role.

She says: “You could not live in this environment if you didn’t love the job.”