Urgent care unit opens to patients

The NHS in Norwich has opened an Urgent Care Unit, to help deal with rising demand during the winter.

The unit, and a raft of other major initiatives to ease ‘winter pressures’, have been commissioned by the three GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups in central Norfolk, using a one-off allocation of £1.6 million.

Dr Jon Bryson, Chair of NHS South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The unit, and a raft of other major initiatives to ease ‘winter pressures’, have been commissioned by the three GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups in central Norfolk. They’re all made possible through ‘winter pressures’ funding, a one-off allocation of £1.6 million from NHS England.”
Other initiatives being brought online this winter, using ‘winter pressures’ money are:
•     Ten more community beds (some at Dereham and some at Kelling)
•     “Placement without prejudice” – providing the right care at home or in a community bed for patients with complex needs, without waiting for a long continuing healthcare process
•     Extending the ‘Clinical Decision Unit’ at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital from five to seven days a week.
•     Extending the Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officer role (HALO) to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
•     Providing more equipment to support independent living after discharge from hospital
•     Troponin testing for cardiac patients
•     More social workers in Norfolk's three acute hospitals – including NNUH – at weekends, to further speed up safe discharge of patients
•     Funding for discharge coordinators in community hospitals
•     Funding for GPs to work closely with nursing and care homes to help them manage patients safely  
The message for all patients as winter approaches is that everyone has their part to play in reducing the pressure on the NHS.

If you need urgent care and it cannot wait then there are two excellent choices for patients:
•     You can dial 111 and get straight through to local, NHS staff who will advise what to do
•     111 is also the number to reach the out of hours GP service
•     Or you can go to one of the two walk-in treatment centres at Timber Hill Health Centre, in Norwich, or the Minor Injuries Unit, at Cromer Hospital. Often you can be seen and treated at Timber Hill or Cromer in under an hour
Example case study:
Mrs ‘B’ is 82 and lives alone. She is in very good health generally but she has had a fall at home resulting in facial bruising and a sprained wrist. She phones her GP who comes out to visit. He realises the fall was an accident waiting to happen – Mrs B had simply tripped on a rug in poor condition.

She is an independent lady and is perfectly safe to continue living at home. Nevertheless her GP wants her to be checked over in A&E. Her family are happy to take her for assessment in A&E where they arrive an hour later. She is seen by the doctor in the Urgent Care Unit where on assessment including an X-Ray of her wrist, nothing is broken and Mrs B doesn’t need to be admitted or be seen by an A&E consultant.

She is then assessed by the nurses and therapists who make a full assessment and are able to access her community notes and, after discussion with a social worker, arrangements are made with Norfolk First Support to see her on return home.

A Healthcare Assistant drives Mrs B home in their adapted vehicle and makes sure the house is safe and any trip hazards are removed. Later on, Norfolk First Support visit as planned to check the house is still warm and Mrs B has eaten. They give Mrs B some good advice about avoiding trips and falls in the future. Mrs B is happy because she’s at home and feels safe and well cared for. The hospital did not have to admit Mrs B, confident that she would be cared for safely at home.


Friday 24th of January 2014 03:00:37 AM