Ambulances told to take patients to walk-in centre to ease pressure on Portsmouth hospital

CALLS are being made for paramedics to take more patients to a walk-in centre to ease A&E pressure at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Sunday, 20th March 2016, 6:36 am
Updated Sunday, 20th March 2016, 8:52 am
The St Mary's Hospital walk in health centre in Milton, Portsmouth.

The improved walk-in facility at St Mary’s Hospital will have GPs on hand from July 1 to deal with a wider range of minor injuries and illnesses.

Care UK, which runs the Milton hospital, wants to do more work with South Central Ambulance Service (Scas) so paramedics consider St Mary’s before taking patients to the emergency department at QA in Cosham.

It comes amid mounting pressure and ‘bed-blocking’ at the hospital in recent weeks.

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Penny Daniels, from Care UK, said: ‘We have always done a lot of work with the ambulance service to bring patients here.

‘It is important that paramedics know they can bring certain people to St Mary’s and that education is key.

‘We used to focus on what they could and could not bring to us with information leaflets in the ambulances.

‘But with this new walk-in service, it will be solely about who they cannot bring to us so it is easier to understand.’

The changes to the walk-in centre were just one of three approved by Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) this week to improve primary care in the city.

The current walk-in clinic at Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre will be for registered patients only.

Pharmacy-based urgent care services will also be extended to treat more illnesses and injuries and serve more people.

The changes come into effect on July 1.

Councillor John Ferrett, chairman of the Portsmouth health overview and scrutiny panel, agreed with the idea for Scas to use St Mary’s.

He said: ‘They need to prioritise dropping people off there rather than the current way, which seems to be taking patients to QA Hospital.

‘The ambulances have to meet targets, too and its probably quicker to get patients to A&E rather than get into the city if there’s heavy traffic.

‘The hope is that St Mary’s can do diagnostic work thanks to the GPs and that should mean a wider range of illnesses and injuries can be dealt with there.’

A spokesman for Scas said anything that helped relieve pressure at the A&E department would be welcomed.

‘If the walk-in centre means less people are going to QA Hospital, that means staff there have more time with the patients brought in by ambulance,’ he said.