Campaigners nervous as Ely's one stop health shop is opened
PUBLISHED: 12:22 25 May 2017
A trial of a one stop urgent medical care hub in Ely has been officially launched but campaigners are nervous because they say the detail is "woolly".
The city leads the way for having a pilot hub, aimed at reducing the need for people with non life-threatening emergencies to go to A&E.
Two others are set to follow in Doddington and Wisbech, with each centre being “locality specific, recognising the different opportunities and challenges in each area.”
They are being called the Local Urgent Care Service - LUCS hubs.
However, county councillor Anna Bailey, said the Ely pilot made her nervous because: “The update is a bit woolly.
“What is and isn’t being treated is not clear, so as it stands we can’t have a big opening and announcement, which makes communications to the public difficult.
“The more people that go locally the better but we can’t yet say what the additional services will be to encourage more people!
“The Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) will carry on treating patients in exactly the same way so there is no change for patients,” she said.
The difference is that following an assessment by the nurse practitioner in the MIU, patients could be referred on to an on-site GP.
Cllr Bailey said: “Over time it is planned that more conditions and issues can be dealt with.
“After a year, they’re going to evaluate. That makes me nervous because at the moment it is still a pilot.
“We have to nail down the evaluation criteria.
“It is moving in the right direction. I’m on a monthly steering group so can keep up to date with what is happening.
“In September 2017 we expect urgent care services to be added but nothing is clear yet.”
Currently the local 111 service is being reviewed as some people are not being properly referred, she added, and as of last week the Cathedral GP practice took on the contract to oversee the MIU, hence the ability for the MIU to refer to a GP, she added.
During 2016, the minor injury services were reviewed in Ely, Doddington and Wisbech.
A spokesman for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Having listened to feedback from patients, the public and local clinicians, we approved a business case to develop the first phase of three LUCS hubs pilots.
“In the meantime patients should continue to use these MIUs in the same way they have been doing.
“The CCG has been working alongside local GP practices, staff from the Ely Minor Injury Unit (MIU) and other organisations to develop the LUCS Hub Pilot to ensure it meets the needs of local patients.”
In the long term it is proposed that the Ely Local Urgent Care Service (LUCS) Hub will:
• Join up primary care, minor injury services, and community care.
• Provide a ‘one stop’ service for those with urgent, but not life threatening, health issues.
• Expand to treat a wider range of conditions over a period of time.
• Give patients the opportunity to have their minor illnesses and injuries seen locally, giving a clear alternative to A&E.
The first stage of the Ely pilot sees the service expanded with local GPs and nurse practitioners working closer together.
“The MIU remains open seven days a week for walk in patients with minor injuries and conditions as listed on the website,” the spokesman said.
Campaigner Emma Watson said: “I now attend the Ely MIU/LUCS Hub Steering Group as a patient representative so am able to witness the progress made in implementing the first phase of the LUCS hub pilot firsthand.
“This also gives me an opportunity to raise any pertinent queries, from a community perspective.
“Enabling the nurse practitioners to use more of their skills by working in conjunction with a GP can only be a positive step, I believe.
“I’m in favour of any measures which make access to healthcare a more streamlined and local experience for patients, and which cut out duplication of effort and consolidate services provided by healthcare professionals.”