Temporary care centre set up at Norwich hospital to relieve A&E pressure

The N&N's new urgent care centre attached to the accident & emergency unit. Photo: Bill Smith The N&N's new urgent care centre attached to the accident & emergency unit. Photo: Bill Smith

Mark Shields mark.shields@archant.co.uk
Saturday, January 25, 2014
11:48 AM

A temporary treatment centre at Norfolk’s biggest hospital is facing its first full weekend test as health bosses look for a way to relieve pressure on its busy accident and emergency department.

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Reception area of the N&N's new urgent care centre attached to the accident & emergency unit. Photo: Bill SmithReception area of the N&N's new urgent care centre attached to the accident & emergency unit. Photo: Bill Smith

A temporary treatment centre at Norfolk’s biggest hospital is facing its first full weekend test as health bosses look for a way to relieve pressure on its busy accident and emergency department.

The urgent care centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has been set up to treat patients attending A&E with minor illnesses or injuries, with the aim of freeing up specialist doctors to deal with those with more serious conditions.

The custom-built centre, formed of three transporters parked at the doors of A&E, opened on Monday and will be there until March 31 for a 10-week trial, staffed by GPs, nurses and therapists from Norfolk’s community healthcare trust, mental health nurses and social workers.

Early indications from this week and two trials in November and December show that around one in five A&E patients has been referred to the temporary centre – around 20 a day – which A&E managers say has been enough to create a noticeable difference in acute care.

Chris Carney, associate medical director of Norfolk community health & care trust, at the N&N's new urgent care centre attached to the accident & emergency unit. Photo: Bill SmithChris Carney, associate medical director of Norfolk community health & care trust, at the N&N's new urgent care centre attached to the accident & emergency unit. Photo: Bill Smith

Care staff are also on hand to arrange community support for those who can return home quickly.

Chris Carney, associate medical director of Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, said the emphasis of the scheme was on collaboration and co-operation.

“This innovative unit brings our staff closer to their hospital-based colleagues and shows how health and care teams can work together to provide the best care for patients, using each organisation’s best talents,” he said.

“This will also help to take pressure off the hospital, so their staff can focus on looking after people who really need their support – those who are seriously ill or injured.”

He said if it proved a success, the facility could return next year, or be included in the rebuilding plans for A&E at the N&N.

The hospital and East of England Ambulance Service Trust have been under pressure to remedy slow turnaround times, which has led to ambulances lining up at the doors to discharge patients to A&E.

Last March, the EDP reported on a night when all of the Norwich area’s 17 ambulances were caught in a queue at the N&N. On April 1, concerned paramedics set up a tent outside the hospital in case patients needed urgent care as their ambulances waited in a three-hour queue.

The new centre is part of a £1.6m investment from NHS England, and has been commissioned by three Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Groups, as part of Project Domino, which aims to alleviate pressure on urgent healthcare services.

A&E matron Kirsty Walker said: “This is one of many initiatives to see what we can do to relieve pressure on A&E departments across the country. In the trials, we were seeing about 20pc of patients being sent to a primary care doctor – and that did make a difference to A&E.”

The centre is open seven days a week, from 10am to 10pm.

14 comments

  • Dave G - The biggest problem with your argument is that it supposes that the individuals attending A&E with minor ailments or injuries have the knowledge to recognise whatever problem is afflicting them? 'If' children at school were taught basic First Aid and the rudimentary skills necessary to differentiate what constitutes a minor ailment or injury they could either self medicate themselves or wait to be seen by a GP or Practice Nurse and thus relieve the wholly unnecessary burden being placed on our A&E units. However, as most people haven't a clue about what is or isn't a minor illness or injury, or what can they can do to help themselves, they will take the easiest way out and look to a professional for help. As most people are aware, the changes to the NHS, and in particular primary care have caused considerably changes over the past few years and accessing help and getting advice is no longer as simple as it was or should be. If we want to reduce the burden that the NHS is under then we need to educate the next generation of adults about how to identify what constitutes a minor illness or injury and how to help themselves before they resort to requiring professional help. The reality is everyone should possess these skills but as our educational system doesn't deem it a necessary part of the curriculum most adults are ignorant of what to do or how to look after themselves.

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    Bad Form

    Sunday, January 26, 2014

  • So does this mean they did build the N&N to small. Again tmore mobiles in car park, like around the other side near Jenny Lynn side. Fine people who miss use A&E, if you can afford drinking and doing drugs then you can afford to pay being out of control and unable to look after yourself. About time we stop this ! The abuse of the NHS. Hospitals need to serve the needs of its users and have beds that don't need to be emptied at 3 am by private ambulance out of the back door. Trust me it happens every day and staff's hands are tied by managers who only care about targets.

    Report this comment

    DAVE !

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • Norwich doesn't another hospital - we just need GP's to restore their after hours coverage.

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • This measure exemplifies the need to plan for another hospital In the Norwich vicinity, preferably with a direct access road to it, a heli pad and solat panels on the roof. Although our planners have yet to mention anything they'd forgot to plan in the first place, they want to build 35.000 homes first, without mentioning another PFI hospital which then would be run for private profits.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • In March this year, all our personal and once confidential medical records will be openly available to outside companies. Some might want to use it for research to pinpoint their resources, others might not. If you do not want your medical records to be avaialble to all and sundry, some 83% of GP's vowed not to make their records public, then YOU HAVE TO OPT OUT. There is a form avaialble. 93% of GP's, according to a study of the BMA, said thaat they did not trust the relevant bodies accruing this data to keep it safe and the EU is looking at outlawing this data hyst. Everyone will have to make their minds up about their own personal data.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, January 26, 2014

  • In March this year, all our personal and once confidential medical records will be openly available to outside companies. Some might want to use it for research to pinpoint their resources, others might not. If you do not want your medical records to be avaialble to all and sundry, some 83% of GP's vowed not to make their records public, then YOU HAVE TO OPT OUT. There is a form avaialble. 93% of GP's, according to a study of the BMA, said thaat they did not trust the relevant bodies accruing this data to keep it safe and the EU is looking at outlawing this data hyst. Everyone will have to make their minds up about their own personal data.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, January 26, 2014

  • If 20% of peopel are turning up with minor illness's and injuries that do not need A&E, dont waste time and money treating them. Tell them that they have come to the wrong place and send them on their way to the nearest chemist. It;s time people stopped using A&E like they do their local Tesco

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Sunday, January 26, 2014

  • The NHS is on its last knees and as always the managers and politicians tasked with trying to run it refuse to tell the truth. Without a radical overhaul of its organisation and financing the NHS simply reacts to one crisis after another. Unfortunately, the managers are more often than not obsessed with targets and career progression rather than the needs of the patients and staff they are responsible for. The responsibility for the shambles which the NHS has become is caused by the constant meddling and incoherent policies of successive governments and career politicians who see the NHS as nothing more than political football which can be conveniently kicked around when the thought of a few votes might depend on whatever new policy they dream up. Indeed , Andrew Lansley's attempt to reorganise the NHS are more than adequate proof of what happens when you give the control of the NHS to one minister and one department. His attempts to hand control of the NHS budget to GP's has realised little if any tangible benefit to patients and yet cost millions in redundancy fees and reorganisation costs. The relocation of the old N&N to the new site at Colney was fraught with controversy and came down to the opinions of a few self serving managers and consultants who promised that the people of Norfolk and Norwich would see vast improvements to patient care. Whilst some of those promises have undeniably been realised some have not. The issue of bed numbers was raised on countless occasions and set aside as inconsequential as improvements to patient care meant less beds would be required. The issue of inadequate A&E facilities were similarly dismissed as wrong as were the concerns raised by ambulance staff at long delays in handover at A&E. This latest attempt to ameliorate the problems facing A&E is unsustainable and unsatisfactory and is yet another example of how bad the situation has become. What the NHS needs is a government who properly organises and funds the NHS partly through fees and partly through taxes and managers who aren't afraid to stand up and speak the truth about the problems facing them, their staff and the patients they serve. Unfortunately, who really believes that will happen?

    Report this comment

    Bad Form

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • As I see it there were two opportunities missed when the new N & N was built - the architect designed a building which wasted half the space it took up - and underground parking could have been incorporated to back up the number of above ground spaces. The service providers need to realise that they work in a 247 environment and arrange facilities accordingly, and GPs should never have been offered the chance to drop evenings and weekends. The people who realise all this are, unfortunately, not the people who make the decisions.

    Report this comment

    MrsP

    Sunday, January 26, 2014

  • Ingo Whateveryournameis - do you have something to hide?

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • An urgent care centre to deal with minor illnesses or injury freeing up specialist doctors so they can take care of urgent cases. So it's NOT a very urgent care centre then.

    Report this comment

    nhswatchdog

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • I object to the Government wasting my tax money on people needing emergency care. Let them buy their own accident and emergency care.

    Report this comment

    Cyril the Canary

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • Sorry, My post should have said that Norwich doesn't need another hospital

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • Is it too late to re-open the old N&N hospital ?

    Report this comment

    GoodRockinDaddy

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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