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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:-  1 May 2006

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New unit helps keep hospital beds free

ACCORDING to Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust say that "most people probably think there are only three ways patients come to be in hospital, via Accident & Emergency, as an outpatient or as a planned inpatient. Since July last year, Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust have added a fourth, the Clinical Decision Unit (CDU).

In the past when a patient was referred by their GP to the hospital, they usually had to wait their turn at the A&E Department. Now they are seen at the CDU. Sometimes this can be for a simple test or examination that the GP cannot perform at their surgery through lack of resources or equipment, or it can be to treat more seriously ill patients."

Mark Bennett, Nurse Consultant at the CDU explained more about its role:- “The unit relies upon senior doctors and nurses who are committed to providing prompt high quality care. The aim of the CDU is to provide a unit where patients can have tests or be observed, assessed and treated without necessarily having to be admitted as an inpatient. Sometimes they have come in themselves via A&E, but mainly they are referred by their GP. Since we opened in July over 30% of patients are discharged from the unit rather than having to be admitted and waiting for the same tests as an inpatient. Obviously this frees up beds on the wards for other patients.

We work closely in collaboration with our colleagues around the hospital and in primary care to provide care for patients in the most appropriate place, often as an alternative to hospital admission.”

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust added to back up their statement an example of a patient’s view.   Robert Johnson, 69, who is a retired fireman from Marshside, Southport, went to his GP at 9.30 in the morning with pains in his leg. His GP thought he needed further investigation so telephoned the CDU. An hour later Mr Johnson was being seen by a nurse in the CDU.

"I was then seen by two different doctors. A junior one and a more senior one, and they have said I need to have a scan on my leg. They’ve made an appointment for me for next Tuesday and given me some tablets to take until then. It’s been really good, I’ve been seen very quickly, had all the test done that they can, and everyone has been very friendly.”
Mr Johnson was discharged later that afternoon.


MORE than 70% of email users in the North West have 2 or more email accounts, with 17% saying they have more than 4 (the national average being 10%), according to a survey by market research firm IMRS (Internet Market Research Services Ltd).

47% said that their email account is web based and that they use it as their most important account for personal email messages sent and received.  39% of them say that they open direct mail-related emails occasionally (compared with the national average of 30%); and another 13% open them daily.  36% occasionally clicked on a link in a direct marketing email that took them to another website. And 38% have made a purchase (either online or in a store) based on what they saw in a direct marketing email or a web page visited after clicking a link in a direct marketing email.

The overall picture that emerges from the survey is of an email environment that satisfies the typical user. The introduction of bulk email folders has more or less ‘solved’ the problem of unwanted emails in the inbox; and users can dip into their bulk mail folders when they are curious about its contents. 

Although the current situation poses challenges to email marketers, it also gives room for the direct mail industry to experiment without offending the consumer.
Heading the list of what motivates people to open direct marketing emails is the name of the company sending the email (33%) followed by prize draws or other incentives (25%). However, the least popular incentive to open was an email with a quirky or humorous subject line.  Timing of emails was interesting, with 42% opening them in the evening, and 31% being opened as soon as they were seen.

Tom Fuller, Managing Director of IMRS Ltd, said:- “These results demonstrate how email-savvy consumers have become, and how comfortable they are with managing different accounts for different purposes.  Email marketing is the fastest growing area in marketing, and consumers are getting used to targeted emails focused on the things they are interested in.”

The survey demonstrates how email marketing is part of everyday life for the computer user. While spam will continue to clutter up in-boxes, clearly targeted and focused email marketing will be the communication method of choice because of its low cost and high convenience to the customer.

To help businesses to target their customers more effectively, the new Big Book of Email Marketing has been launched. It takes the reader on a journey from the basics of campaign planning, through creating emails that get results, to measuring email marketing effectiveness.

Tom Fuller said:- “The days of mass marketing are slipping away as more and more channels open up. There are ways to reach more precise segments of the population, and this new Big Book of Email Marketing demonstrates in simple terms how businesses can conduct great email marketing campaigns.”
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