NHS England is attempting to tackle the increasing problem of provision of urgent and emergency care across England and Wales and is due publish its national review in due course. Demand is increasing, people are living longer, patients have more complex needs and expectation is at its highest, all in the current climate of budget deficit, austerity measures and efficiency savings across the public sector. The problem is felt most acutely in A&E Departments, both by patients and staff, and this often spills over to other NHS services including primary care.
Nunwell Surgery is playing its part in providing an effective urgent care service to the local community. We have already established a Nurse Practitioner clinic that provides rapid telephone triage and advice as well as same day access for many patients with minor illness or injury. A longstanding problem experienced by many GP practices is not just the provision of urgent care appointments but access to bookable appointments days or weeks in advance where high demand for these appointments forces many patients to utilise same-day appointments for what are non-urgent problems. What we all want is for the right patient, being managed by the right healthcare professional, in the right place, at the right time.
To best meet the needs of our patients, we are significantly increasing the availability of bookable appointments to a minimum of four weeks in advance and developed new same-day booked Urgent Care Clinics. If a problem requires assessment and/or treatment on the same day then it needs urgent care. All other problems should be able to be managed either by telephone or with an appointment within days or routinely. We have retained both our on-call Duty Doctor to deal with emergencies including home visits and the Nurse Practitioner service as well as continuing to provide on-line appointment booking and extended hours pre-booked clinics on Monday evenings and Saturday mornings specifically for those who have difficulty in accessing appointments during working hours. Nunwell Surgery is one of the few practices in Herefordshire who currently provide this service.
Access to the Urgent Care Clinics will be following assessment of the nature and urgency of your problem by a healthcare professional usually by telephone. The most appropriate service will be offered which may be telephone advice, prescription, soon or routine appointment, urgent care appointment or emergency attendance. The surgery does not also offer a walk-in service but patients attending the surgery without an appointment will be managed appropriately based on clinical need. We encourage patients with emergency or urgent care problems, especially where a home visit may be required, to telephone before 10am.
We hope that you will be understanding and help us to help you during this period of change.