Relieving The Pressure - Designing More Efficient Emergency Departments

There were 23.8 million attendances at Accident & Emergency Departments across England in 2017/18*. Emergency rooms worldwide are becoming increasingly understaffed and overcrowded, with the facilities not coping with the demand from both patients and staff.


As the initial access point for patients, A&E departments are responsible for receiving, assessing, and managing patients with different degrees of urgency and complexity.

Inadequate design of these environments can cause major overcrowding, increased length of stay and higher mortality. It is not uncommon for patients to be left vulnerable due to lack of beds, which can strip them of privacy, dignity and safety. On top of that, the space is preventing the staff from having the ability to adhere to a standard of treatment.  

Number of attendances in Accident and Emergency in the NHS.

Number of attendances in Accident and Emergency in the NHS.

Whilst understaffing and lack of beds are obviously a key issue, the layout of an emergency department can only serve to help reduce the problem. Typically, these sites are open-plan which can leave trolleys of patients to be left in hallways or large waiting rooms in plain sight for hours.

Healthcare staff have become risk managers, unable to adapt their current resources when faced with these scenarios. For example, curtains are unable to be deployed in triage bays as they require a track which is permanently installed. They also have the distinct disadvantage of being one of the most common furnishings to carry hospital acquired infections.

During overflow times or emergencies, there needs to be a solution which adapts to the scenario. To relieve some pressure, temporary structures such as portable privacy screens can be used to section off crowded areas and promptly provide a bay for waiting patients.

Take winter pressures for example, flu season can bombard triage spaces with patients that could potentially put others at risk of infection. Quickly deployed screens can help staff separate patients, whilst managing space issues and maintaining a standard of hygiene.  

Cooper University Emergency Department, New Jersey.

Cooper University Emergency Department, New Jersey.

Opting for a privacy screen, these departments can adapt quickly with an efficient and cost-effective solution. With 88% of patients spending up to four hours in A&E*, a portable partition can be implemented to ensure privacy, dignity and safety are maintained.

During patient overflow situations, create private bays or partitioning off a crowd for security reasons are vital. KwickScreens aim to balance accessibility, flexibility and cost whilst maintaining hygiene standards. When not in use, they can be easily transferred to another area which requires them. Or simply stored away taking up very little space.

Emergency Department layouts clearly need addressing, with the number of attendants to these spaces increasing every year. If you are in need of an effective, adaptable privacy solution, get in touch to see how we can help.

*NHS A&E Statistics (2017-18)