New urgent care centre to start at A&E this month

Queen Alexandra Hospital

A NEW urgent care centre at Queen Alexandra Hospital will be up and running in less than a fortnight.

The GP-led centre will treat patients who attend the emergency department but do not need hospital treatment – and is aimed at taking the strain off the busy A&E department.

The scheme will run within the current A&E department from November 13 but it is hoped a new building will be ready by March.

As reported by The News Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust was given £855,000 earlier this year by the Department for Health for the urgent care centre.

Giving an update on the plans at the trust board meeting yesterday Paul Bytheway, chief operating officer, said: ‘The centre was meant to open by Wednesday this week but from November 13 we will be streaming services from our emergency department.

‘Building works need to take place in the occupational health part of the hospital to deliver the urgent care centre but there have been delays in the work.

‘Until the new centre opens, the service will be delivered from our GP colleagues in the emergency department.’

The urgent care centre will see three GPs work between 8am and 11pm with overlapped shifts in the evening to help with patients attending in that time.’

QA Hospital does already have a service where GPs are stationed within the emergency department but concerns were raised they were not seeing enough patients.

Following an inspection, health watchdog the Care Quality Commission said GPs should be seeing a patient every 10 minutes while under the current scheme, they were seeing around two to three patients an hour.

During the meeting, it was asked if GPs has already been recruited for the centre.

Mr Bytheway added: ‘We have got a lot of support from the clinical commissioning groups in this area and the GP alliance in getting this scheme up and running.

‘We have got the majority of shifts covered up until the middle of December so we are ready to go.’

The urgent care centre is one of a few schemes Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has launched to ease pressure on its emergency department.

It comes as the hospital faces problems with patient flow and having a high occupancy rate on its beds.

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