On Monday 16 January, Dame Caroline Spelman, Member of Parliament for the Meriden Constituency visited the new Urgent Primary Care service at Solihull Hospital.
Dame Caroline Spelman was met at the Urgent Primary Care reception by Dr Patrick Brooke, Accountable Officer at Solihull CCG, Karen Middlemas, Programme Director Urgent Care and Viv Tsesmelis, Director of Partnerships at University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. Also present were key Birmingham and District General Practitioner Emergency Room group (Badger) Urgent Primary Care staff, Fay Wilson, Medical Director and Victoria Young, Service Manager.
Following the closure of the temporary Walk-In Centre building on Solihull Hospital site on 28th October 2016, the new Urgent Primary Care service was opened to serve alongside the Minor Injuries Unit in a move which combined Solihull’s urgent care services under one roof.
The Urgent Primary Care reception marked the start of the guided tour, where patients access the Urgent Primary Care and Minor Injury services. These services are open for patients with urgent problems on a walk in basis 8:00am until 8:00pm seven days a week, while MIU is open 24 hours a day for minor injuries.
Dame Caroline was led from the Urgent Primary Care reception and assessment area through to the Booked Primary Care area behind the Minor Injuries Unit. This area is for patients who have been booked in because they need more detailed assessment or treatment. Appointments are also booked for patients, by NHS 111 or Badger’s GP out-of-hours service. This area is usually open until 11pm for people who have been previously assessed by the Out of Hours Service.
Dame Caroline commented; ‘I was delighted to visit the Urgent Care Centre at Solihull Hospital last week and see firsthand the excellent patient services available to local residents.
Over recent weeks, Accident and Emergency Departments across the country have handled a record breaking number of patients, with over 2.2 million patients being seen by the UK’s Emergency departments in just one day. Already the Government has pledged to meet the NHS’s own demands for funding, but in order to help alleviate some of the pressures on local A&E’s, it is clear that money alone will not solve this problem.
I believe that strong, Urgent Care Centres have an important role to play; allowing patients 24/7 access to a doctor. For that reason, I commend the approach being taken by staff at Solihull Hospital. Under this model, the NHS can better direct patients to the correct service and ensure that appropriate levels are care are available for patients who require swift medical attention, but whose symptoms are not severe enough to warrant an emergency ‘999’ call-out, or a visit to A&E.
Dame Caroline added: ‘I am confident that this new service will provide local residents with an improved standard of healthcare, and that following the redistribution of services at the Urgent Care Centre, a clearer understanding of the best way to access the appropriate service.
Dr Patrick Brooke, Solihull CCG said, ‘There have been fantastic responses from patients and staff since the introduction of the new services. Everyone can see the current pressures on A&E units and Solihull people understood the need to merge Walk-in and Urgent Care to deliver a more sustainable service. Over 2,500 patients used the new Urgent Primary Care service in December alone and the feedback we have had from patients has been excellent.’
Dr Fay Wilson, Badger’s Medical Director for Urgent Primary Care explained, ‘Patients presenting at the Urgent Primary Care service, who are registered with a GP, have their data sent electronically straight to their own GP. It is fantastic that we have this integrated Urgent Primary Care and out-of-hours service up and running, which is the first phase. My vision would be one integrated reception which also links with all the services and to have an open door available 24/7!’