New QA urgent care unit aims to ease A&E waiting times
A NEW Urgent Care Centre is being created at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth in a bid to help tackle problems at A&E.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Cosham site, was given £855,000 by the department for health to build the centre.
Revealing the plans at a board meeting of the trust, Sheila Roberts, chief operating officer, said: ‘We have been successful in a bid for funding to build an urgent care centre on-site.
‘The £855,000 will be for capital only and one of the key requirements is it is located within an emergency department.
‘We can help patients be directed into a more appropriate setting when they need care.
‘It will be run by the clinical commissioning group and it will be their responsibility to find someone to run the service and award the contract.’
As part of the funding, the centre has be complete in some capacity by October and it is hoped it will help ease pressure on the emergency department through the winter months.
Although proposals are still in early stages, it is hoped the centre would be open 8am until 11pm.
It will be either within the building that houses A&E or next to it, and will be for patients who do not need emergency care but have turned up at the emergency department.
Currently QA Hospital does has a service where GPs are stationed within the emergency department.
But Ms Roberts said it was not being used enough.
‘The idea of the urgent care centre is for the GPs to be seeing a patient every 10 minutes,’ she said.
‘With the set-up we have now, the GPs are only seeing around two to three patients an hour.’
Concerns had been raised at the board meeting if there were enough GPs to staff the new centre considering the national shortages.
But Ms Roberts said she had been assured by the CCGs they are looking into the situation.
Alex Berry, chief operating officer at Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups spoke highly of the prospect of the new centre.
He said: ‘This money is extremely welcome, and will be used to give the clinical staff in the existing Urgent Care Centre service a proper, dedicated base for their work, with the IT support they need.
‘In turn, we hope this will contribute to the effort to minimise the time A&E teams spend treating minor problems, and allow them to focus more of their efforts and skills caring for those who need their help the most.’
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said: ‘I welcome proposals to create an urgent care centre in our city. For too long our NHS has been starved of resources and funds. That just is not good enough for the people of Portsmouth. I hope this proposed new facility will go some way to tackle the challenges hospital staff at the QA struggle with on a daily basis.’
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘This is something we have been pushing for and this will help those non-emergency cases and take some pressure off A & E. I would urge the QA to still pursue measures to discharge patients in a timely way too.’