AMBULANCE crews will be able to take patients directly into urgent care at Forth Valley Royal Hospital to ensure they are seen quicker.

It comes as a dedicated entrance to the Urgent Care Centre has been created on site and as part of efforts to free up capacity and reduce delays in hospital, community and primary care services.

NHS Forth Valley said the creation of the dedicated entrance will not only enable patients to be seen quicker but will also free up capacity in the Emergency Department.

The number of contingency beds within ward treatment rooms and four-bedded bays at Forth Valley Royal Hospital has reduced significantly over the last few months, the health board explained.

Triage arrangements have also been introduced within the Emergency Department to help reduce the number of people experiencing very long waits.

Andrew Murray, medical director at NHS Forth Valley, said: “We recognise there is still much more to do, however, we expect that these changes, along with ongoing efforts to increase the number of patients discharged before noon and at weekends, will help improve the experience of both staff and patients over the coming months.

“This will be supported by work to maximise the use of our Urgent Care Centre, refurbished discharge lounge and expanded Hospital at Home service, which can now support up to 30 patients who would previously have had to be admitted to hospital.

“We also want to build on the collaborative work underway across hospital, community and primary care services to improve the way we design and deliver care closer to home.”

Work is also ongoing to develop a community heart failure service which supports patients in their own homes and communities while helping to reduce the number of emergency admissions.

Action taken by the area's health and social care partnerships over the last few months has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of patients experiencing delays in being discharged from local hospitals, NHS Forth Valley said.

This has been achieved by a range of initiatives, including significant investment in the recruitment of additional social care and AHP staff, the creation of community-based rehabilitation facilities and an increase in the number of home care packages being provided by independent care providers.

Both health and social care partnerships are committed to delivering a further 10 per cent reduction in delayed discharges by the end of July 2023.