Pilot project in Ely and Fenland to relieve pressure from busy A&E departments gets a year of extra funding
- Credit: Archant
A pilot scheme in Ely and the Fens to ease pressure on busy A&E departments is to get another year of funding.
It has been agreed to extend the Local Urgent Care Services (LUCS) pilots for a further 12 months.
Over the past year, commissioners have been working alongside local services and clinicians to help provide better access to urgent care services for local residents, to improve patient experience, and to ease pressure on A&E departments.
This includes the launch of the Ely Local Urgent Care Services (LUCS) hub pilot, where doctors work alongside nurse practitioners in the minor injuries unit to provide a ‘one-stop’ service for patients.
Local GP, Dr Alex Manning, said “This is great news for local services. The Ely LUCS pilot has shown promising signs, and now we can explore how we can expand this service further.
“GP workforce and recruitment remains a challenge locally. However, a number of new staff have been recruited to start in September which will help to ensure reliability of the service.
“Should there be any reduction or change in services available, we will ensure patients are made aware of this and of the alternative local services available during that time.”
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The Cambridgeshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has agreed the extra year’s funding.
Over the past year, nearly 13,500 patients have used the Ely LUCS service - an increase of four per cent compared to 2016/17.
Patient feedback has been positive, with two-thirds of patients seen and treated at the Ely LUCS hub with no follow-up appointment required.
Learning from the Ely experience, work also continues to develop local urgent care services for Wisbech and for the South Fenland area.
Dr Manning added “We are working with GPs in Wisbech and North Cambs MIU to look at the best way for services to work collaboratively.
“Various options have been considered, and it is hoped that this new service will start later in the year.”
There are also a number of new initiatives in place in South Fenland to help ease pressure on nurses and GPs.
For example, as part of the ‘Time to Care’ project, a large number of receptionists have been trained as ‘care navigators’ so that patients can be directed to the most appropriate service, and to help reduce demand on GPs.
New systems have also been introduced for managing correspondence, which frees up GP time.
• Information on opening hours plus minor illnesses and injuries that can be treated at MIUs.