NURSES are getting a bigger role in the front line at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Senior nursing staff are doing the job of diagnosing and treating patients who come into the accident and emergency department with minor injuries.
They will also be able to interpret X-rays after special training.
Sixteen senior nurses are doing the new work at both the Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax.
Richard Brownhill, a spokesman at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, said: "When a trauma case comes in now and doctors have to disappear to deal with it, emergency nurse practitioners can take over the less immediate cases.
"Also, nurses communicate in a different way to doctors - and patients respond to this. The process is made much quicker."
Minor injuries treated by the nurses include limb and head injuries, eye problems and ear, nose and throat conditions.
Later, it is hoped they will be able to deal with other conditions.
The service is being offered three evenings a week, but will soon be available seven nights.
Consultant Andrew Lockey said there had been plenty of benefits.
"These nurse practitioners are a godsend to any emergency department," he added.
"They enable us to work more effectively and help us to reach our target of seeing patients within four hours."
The nurses work within set guidelines and give the patient the choice of seeing a doctor if they would prefer.
If the nurse feels they are not trained enough to deal with a certain condition, they can refer the patient to a specialist.