People in North Wales who need treatment for an injury can now get up to the minute information on waiting times for Emergency Departments via their smartphone or tablet.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has teamed up with the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust who have developed an app that allows people find out how many people are waiting at different and hospitals and the current waiting times for patients needing non-urgent treatment.
For example a person wishing to visit the Wrexham Maelor Emergency Department can search for the hospital on the app and see the current wait time and how many people are currently waiting to be seen.
The ‘Live Wait Times’ app, which can be downloaded for free from Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, also provides opening times, contact details and directions to the different units, as well as outlining the types of care they provide.
Liz Rix, Chief Nurse at the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said: “This is an innovative way of helping the public choose which health provider best suits their needs, whether that’s an A&E or a local minor injuries unit. It’s often the case that patients with minor conditions can be treated without the need to visit an acute hospital.
“The app gives real-time information on waiting times and show how busy the departments are at any time during the day. This is about empowering patients to make the most appropriate choice for them.”
North Wales is the first area to join in with this development since it was initially set up for Staffordshire.
It is hoped that by making this information easily available to the public, will help people choose the best place to get help when they have suffered an injury. Even if it involves a longer journey, in many cases more rapid care is available by going to a Minor Injuries Unit, rather than a major hospital Emergency Department which always has to prioritise the care of people with urgent and potentially life-threatening conditions.
Nigel Lee, who is the Health Board’s Director of Secondary Care said: “With the winter upon us we know that our Emergency Departments are going to be incredibly busy over the next three months, dealing with many people who are seriously ill. This can mean that people whose conditions are not urgent can face long waits to be seen.
“But the NHS in Wales offers many ways to get healthcare quickly – local pharmacists are qualified health professionals who can advise on treatments for many common illnesses using simple ‘over-the-counter’ remedies, while our minor injuries units are a way for people who have suffered less-serious injuries to get the care they need.
“This app is a great way for people who have been injured to work out where is the best place to go to get seen with a minimum of delay.”
The app can be downloaded for free right now from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store by searching for ‘Live Wait Times’. A version for Windows phones will also be developed.
Update: We have had a fiddle and created a bot that puts the info for the Maelor on twitter – https://twitter.com/WrexMaelorBot