A new ‘navigational’ model which will direct patients away from Accident and Emergency in a bid to focus resources on those in need of urgent care will be launched at The James Cook University Hospital.
Typically between 250 and 350 people arrive at the Middlesbrough hospital’s A&E each day, although some do not require emergency care and could have received their treatment elsewhere, such as their local pharmacy, GP or urgent appointments via extended hour GP centres.
From Saturday (1 April 2017), patients will be assessed on arrival at the department by a senior nurse and if they do not require emergency care, they will be redirected to the most appropriate primary care services in the community.
The new model aims to change the way people access emergency care so the hospital’s Emergency Department can focus on those patients with life threatening illnesses or injuries who really need their help and expertise – which is what the ED is really for.
Keir Rumins, Emergency Department Matron said: “Patients often come to the Emergency Department because they don’t know the best place to go for treatment, or they may feel their symptoms can only be treated at hospital.
However if they went to the right place in the community, it would be much more convenient – and quicker – for them. This model allows us to redirect people so they are cared for in the right place and, in turn, gives us more time to focus on the patients who really need emergency care.”
A&E Department Manager, Sue Murphy, who has worked closely with the nursing team to train staff and develop the model, explained that several pilots had taken place in collaboration with South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group and GP practices.
“As a team, we do follow our saying of, ‘we care about your care’ and this will assist patents in accessing the right primary care setting at the right time,” she said.
Nick Athey, Clinical Director & Emergency Department Consultant added: “Being able to navigate patients with more minor ailments away from the emergency department to their own GP, a hub or the out of hours service is a very positive development and will enable the team at James Cook to concentrate on patients with injuries and more serious medical presentations.”
The scheme has the full support of South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group which is making some important changes to urgent care across Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland including opening four new extended hours GP centres.
Chair of South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Janet Walker, said: “During our public urgent care consultation around the changes to urgent care services, it was a common response that A&E should be used by the sickest patients and that those with minor conditions should be treated elsewhere.
“The navigation model allows senior nurses to identify those patients with minor ailments that can be directed to primary care to have their needs met. Patients will be educated about which service best meets their needs, and how best to access help in the future.”
Local pharmacies can give advice for more minor ailments, while GPs and walk in centres can also treat people more quickly than going to an Emergency Department.
Full information on getting the right care is available here