I live near 3 A&E departments, and don't know which is least busy or specializes (e.g. maternity, pediatrics, minor trauma). There should be simple wait time estimators for every A&E served through an API that could appear on NHS Choices or through apps developed by third parties. Have you ever called for an ambulance? Whether through 999 or for patient transport, it's an agonizing wait. And yet if I need a Hailo cab or a bus I can track it down to the minute when it will arrive - let's do that!
Just like your GPS guides you to the least congested road, an A&E busy-ness dashboard could let you make the best decision for you and your family, but also avoid over-burdening stretched resources. A 6 hour wait time at one A&E might mean those with a car could drive an extra few miles to somewhere with a 3 hour for example. Clearly this would not be appropriate for 999-level emergencies but particularly when you're taking a child or elderly relative in, the waiting can be quite stressful!
Call an ambulance when you're in an emergency and something very bad is happening - someone is bleeding, in pain, unconscious. 999 operators don't stay on the line with you, they tell you help is on its way and let you get on with it. An API to let you see the progress of your assigned ambulance would help patients in emergencies to cope better by reducing the uncertainty. When ambulances are used for patient transport, they're often late and grossly inconvenience patients. We can do better!
In more rural areas there is no such choice. We need excellent and responsive emergency care departments in these areas #Cornwall
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