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Antrim Area Hospital takes up 100% challenge

As part of the ongoing work to improve the flow of patients through the hospital, Antrim Area Hospital staff participated in a challenge recently, organised by GM AHSN’s Utilisation Management Unit, to exceed the Trust’s accomplishment of the regional four hour target.

The Department of Health target is that 95% of all patients attending Emergency Departments should be treated and discharged or admitted within four hours of their arrival.  In the latest regional statistics published, 71.6% of patients in Type 1 Emergency Departments across Northern Ireland were seen, treated and discharged or admitted within four hours.

The 100% challenge tasked staff with maximising the flow of patients through the hospital to ensure that every patient was treated and discharged, or admitted, within four hours.

The Trust was supported by Director of Clinical Development & Nursing, Seamus McGirr and his team; and the challenge took place over a 24 hour period (Wednesday 18 - Thursday 19 January).

“All the staff at Antrim fully supported the 100% challenge, their ‘can do’ attitude had such a positive impact. Feedback from the staff identified that communication, coordination and commitment from all the teams ensured the challenge was successful” Seamus McGirr, Director of Clinical Development & Nursing

The whole systems approach was further developed to ensure that all wards and departments in the hospital prioritised any task or intervention that would improve and maintain the flow of the patient’s journey, while ensuring safe, effective and timely care provided to all patients in the hospital.  Additional staff, with clinical and managerial responsibilities, were put in place across every division within the Trust, including mental health, community services, children’s services, support services, nursing and medicine.

At a site wide debriefing on Friday morning staff were delighted to learn that 94% of patients presenting within the 24 hour period of the challenge were seen, treated admitted or discharged within 4 hours of arrival.  Performance continued to improve in the hours following the challenge to reach 99% attainment.

Deputy Chief Executive, Pamela McCreedy, commended staff for their efforts:

“I am so proud of all our staff, who have worked as one team, adopting a problem solving approach that meant no patient waited in ED longer than was necessary.  The hospital flow from ED to all the wards and discharge planning to home and community care, was the result of an inclusive, empowered team working together in a highly effective manner.


Every job in the hospital and every individual task undertaken has a role to play in ensuring the system works as efficiently as possible.  Despite the complex environment, when staff focused on patient flow, the impact as a collective effort was hugely positive.”

The Trust is now reviewing the learning from the experience, including patients views and experience, looking at what additional resources and processes are needed to put in place a sustainable approach.