Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been given £609,000 from the government’s £100 million A&E capital fund, to help ease pressure on emergency departments in time for winter.
The Trust plans to spend the money on establishing a new GP service within the Urgent Care Centre – known as ‘primary care streaming’ – to help support the flow of emergency patients at St. Peter’s Hospital.
Director of Operations for Unplanned Care, Tom Smerdon, said: “Each day we see around 275 patients in our A&E department and that number is growing each year. We need to ensure we can prioritise our most sick and injured patients and that people are going to the most appropriate place for help. When patients arrive in A&E they are triaged by an experienced nurse who decides who can provide the best care to them depending on how urgent their condition or problem is; those who require less urgent attention and treatment can be seen by the hospital-based GP, ensuring our A&E doctors and nurses are available to care for others.
“Looking at how this model works at other Trusts, we know the hospital-based GP is often able to provide reassurance and advise to patients who are worried, before then referring back to their usual GP for an appointment within a couple of days. In this way, the hospital-based GP is not a replacement for a patient’s usual GP and is there to help prioritise patients and support flow through A&E.”
The hospital has begun the recruitment process for the GPs and will shortly start works to set up the new service within the Urgent Care Centre, located opposite the main A&E department at St. Peter’s Hospital.