A regional daily went behind the scenes at its local accident and emergency department for a 24-hour Tweetathon to give readers an insight into the pressures faced by staff.
Top-selling daily the Express & Star has run a number of stories about plans by Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital to expand as the number of A&E patients has soared in recent years.
So they organised for reporters Tim Spiers, Mark Andrews and Adam Thompson to do eight-hour shifts each at the unit, speaking to staff, reporting on activity and observing the frenetic pace of work.
As well as being posted to the Wolverhampton edition’s dedicated Twitter feed, @EandS_Wton, the Tweets were linked to a live blog on the paper’s website.
The trio of reporters were joined by photographers Tim Thursfield, Steve Leath, Patrick Mulvaney and Alan Evans as they shadowed staff and patients from 6am on Friday to 6am on Saturday and provided 24 hours of rolling coverage.
More than 5,000 people followed the live blog throughout the day and the Star’s Wolverhampton News (@eand_wton) Twitter feed gained over 200 followers throughout the day.
Profiling the staff and patients that walked through the hospital doors, the Express & Star produced a four-page pullout for yesterday’s editions of the paper.
The double page spread inside was filled with a more in-depth timeline on a day in the life of frontline A&E, as the good, the bad and the ugly of an increasingly under-pressure emergency department was laid bare.
Express & Star internet editor Todd Nash said: “The 24-hour tweetathon proved to be an excellent way to portray the real-time drama of a busy emergency department as it happened.
“As the busy day-shift moved into an alcohol-fuelled Friday night in A&E, our reporters gave insights into all of the stories that happen every day in our hospitals.
“And with full coverage in Monday’s four-page pullout, the real-life drama of casualty was put on show.”
Among the incidents witnessed by the reporters was a woman in her 70s, rushed into A&E as she was not breathing while medics tried to resuscitate her. Sadly, she died shortly after arriving.
Later on, a man who had been declared fine to return home by doctors refused to leave a cubicle – despite the long waiting time – and threatened to “floor” anyone who tried to remove him.