Established in 2018, Northampton General Hospital (NGH) set up its first Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) unit to provide an alternative care pathway to the Emergency Department. Michelle Coe, Matron for Urgent Care at NGH, describes the workings of the unit, and how it has benefited patient care and experience.

“The idea is to assess people who might otherwise attend the Trust’s Emergency Department (ED), where they may be admitted to a hospital bed, and instead look to discharge them the same day. Initially the team saw an average of 25 patients per day and this number rose steadily over the next few years.

“The value of SDEC in improving patient care and reducing pressure on the ED was recognised and in 2021 we relocated to a larger area.

“The average number of patients seen each day has risen to 53. Currently operational from 8am until 9pm, the unit accept patients until 7:30pm, and an ongoing recruitment initiative will keep it open until midnight.

“As part of the iCAN programme, we introduced new patient pathways with East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), transferring patients directly to the SDEC.

“The successful collaboration with EMAS and Kettering General Hospital (KGH) accelerated the roll out, with a month-on-month increase in the number of patients being taken directly to the SDEC by EMAS, or being diverted from ED to SDEC.

“Increasingly patients are being streamed to the Springfield Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC). The UTC is open from 8am until midnight and sees the lower acuity patients presenting to ED.

“The ED and UTC have established a successful training programme for Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACP) and a recruitment campaign has led to an increase in the number of ACPs in ED and UTC. We are also implementing a trainee ACP model in the SDEC.

“In conclusion, the data shows an increase in activity at both the NGH SDEC and Springfield UTC, meaning patients are receiving more appropriate treatment and experience, relieving the pressure on NGH’s ED.”

To find out more about the work of the SDEC at NGH, you can get in touch with Michelle Coe by emailing