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285 Piloting and implementing an acute neurology service
  1. Thomas Peukert
  1. Royal Victoria Hospital


Over the past decade, the number of patients attending the emergency department (ED) at the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast, with neurological symptoms, has doubled. Typically, over 50% of these patients would subsequently be admitted to hospital. In 2013, a pilot project was conducted with the aim of evaluating the effectiveness of a rapid access neurology clinic on reducing such admissions.

A dedicated neurology clinic was set up offering 12 slots per week. Patients were seen within 10 days of ED staff booking them into the clinics. Early results indicated that within the first month 28 admissions were avoided. As a result rapid access neurology clinics were rolled out. Two acute neurologists were appointed and since 2015, 3 rapid access clinics run per week (15 slots). In addition to the rapid access clinics, the acute neurology team also offer two additional services:

  • Reviewing all patients who have been admitted under the medical take with neurological symptoms

  • Patients who attend ED overnight but require urgent evaluation/tests can be sent home and will be seen the next morning by the acute neurology team

Analysis indicates approximately 1250 admissions are avoided each year with an estimated cost saving of over £2 million.

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