Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Acute Same Day Service

The Coleridge Medical Centre looks after the health and well being of almost 16,500 patients over a very wide and rural geographical area, known to have a high count of residents with long term and often complex health conditions.

Offering a consistent and high quality NHS service to that many people can be quite a challenge. Until recently patients with an urgent problem were seen at the end of GP's routine surgery. When you consider that up to ninety patients a day ask to be seen urgently there was often difficulty fitting these patients in to be seen. We also became concerned that waiting until the end of the day could delay treatment.

As a result of the ever increasing demand for same day appointments and a scramble at 08:30am to get an evening slot, we decided to adopt a new approach. The main benefit is that regardless of when you ring, you will always be able to talk to one of the On Call team; either a GP or a Nurse Practitioner. (If needed) they will always see you that day or at an agreed date in the future. This means faster access to care when it is needed most.

We call this new service the Acute Same Day Service.
So how does it work?
Every day a GP and up to two Nurse Practitioners answer all urgent requests for help. They will talk to you on the phone and, if needed, see you as soon as necessary.
If you are suddenly unwell we encourage you to use this service rather than wait to talk to your own GP who may be delayed calling you back.

So what do I do?
You call us on the usual number (01404 814447). A receptionist will answer your call and take a number we can reach you on. Please give her some brief details of your problem if you feel able to do so - this will help the On Call medical team enormously.

One of the team will then call you back. They will either help you over the phone and/or arrange for you to be seen.

You can call at any time. There is no longer any need to call first thing in the morning in order to be seen.

What is a nurse practitioner?
We have two highly skilled Nurse Practitioners, Christine Hellier and Phillipa Evans. Both Chris and Philly have many years nursing experience and degree qualifications to enable them to work as Nurse Practitioners who can independantly prescribe medication.
What do Nurse Practitioners do?
- See patients with a wide variety of problems
- Assess patients
- Examine patients
- Screen patients for early signs of illness as well as treat them
- Prescribe some medications
- Arrange necessary investigations
- Refer on to doctors or other services
- Arrange for a patient to be admitted to hospital

We recognise that this is a big change from the traditional GP service that many of you know and have valued over the years. We are very much committed to personal lists and will continue to provide routine appointments with your own doctor. However we are confident that our on the day team are highly skilled and experienced to be able to deal with urgent acute problems for you.

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