Andy Curran on how new hospital facilities can improve urgent care in our regionDate posted: 1st March 2022
What is your role?
I’m a Consultant in Emergency Medicine for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (opens in new window), based at Royal Preston Hospital. I’m also Executive Medical Director for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS) (opens in new window) and Medical Director for the North West Air Ambulance Service.
Prior to this, I was Deputy Director for the North West Ambulance Service (opens in new window). You could say that I wear a lot of hats! But I love having different opportunities to play a part and share my expertise in emergency medicine.
My main passion is pre-hospital care, and I am proud to have played a role in setting up the Lancashire and South Cumbria Major Trauma Network (opens in new window). The network ensures that our most severely injured patients have access to 24/7 consultant-led care, in the best possible facilities. The region’s Major Trauma Centre is now based at Royal Preston Hospital, where I carry out my day job.
I was also the first doctor to work on the North West Air Ambulance back in 2003. These roles keep me very busy! But I wouldn’t change it for the world.
How can new hospital facilities make a difference to the Emergency Department?
As most people are aware, the Emergency Department (ED, also known as Accident and Emergency) is a busy, high-pressured part of any hospital. Lots of our patients are treated in ED and are then able to go straight home, but lots of them also need to go on to receive specialist care in another part of the hospital, or in another setting altogether.
Of course, you never know which patients are going to come through the door and the level of care that they are going to need. Planning for this and moving patients out of ED to where they need to be is tricky, but essential to the smooth running of the hospital.
We find that patients can get ‘stuck’ in ED. They’re ready to be moved onto their next care setting, be that specialist care within the hospital, or within another community setting, but for capacity and planning reasons, patients can end up staying in ED for longer than they need to.
It’s easy to look outwards but we need to look at what we can do within the hospital to improve our planning and make sure this doesn’t happen. New hospital facilities will help us to ensure that we have the right number of beds, in the right places. It could hopefully mean that they need to travel less for their specialist care as well, reducing pressures in other areas, such as the ambulance service.
What else do you think will improve as a result of investment in our hospital facilities?
I hope that enhanced hospital facilities will mean that we’ll be able to attract and retain more of the very best talent in our region. I moved to Preston in 1997 and have loved it since day one. It’s a great place to live and work and my hope is that we’ll be able to attract more people to work with us, rather than choosing to work in cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.
My job is varied. Roughly half of my time is spent on my management roles and the other half is spent working shifts in ED. I see people from all walks of life, different communities, backgrounds and situations. I want every one of those people to be able to access excellent healthcare services and I believe investment in new hospital facilities will assist us greatly in achieving that.