Urgent care hub pilot schemes at Wisbech and Doddington are set to start this year

Doddington Hospital
Doddington Hospital

Two pilot schemes aimed at providing improved urgent health care in Fenland should finally get underway – almost a year after they were due to start.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) promised the introduction of more emergency care in recognition of the community’s support when both the minor injuries units (MIUs) at Wisbech and Doddington were under threat two years ago.

North Cambs Hospital Wisbech

North Cambs Hospital Wisbech

However, the Citizen exclusively revealed last November that the planned pilot local urgent care hubs (LUCS) at both hospitals had failed to start because of a lack of doctors.

However, a spokesman for the CCG this week confirmed the Wisbech scheme should progress from April.

She said: “The CCG worked with all the Wisbech practices and NHS partners during September to November to review options for taking the LUCS hub project forward, with plans to progress the pilot with GP support from April 2018.

“GP recruitment is a challenge across the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area, and is particularly difficult in Fenland.”

As for the Doddington scheme the spokesman said: “In the South Fenland area (the area surrounding Doddington) the CCG invested in a ‘Time to Care’ initiative for the local GP practices, enabling them to apply national best practice on freeing up clinical/practice time.

“For example, a large number of receptionists have been trained as ‘navigators’ so that patients can be directed to the right service first time – including a range of community and voluntary services.

“A second example is a new system which will be introduced for managing correspondence which frees up GP time. The intention is that the Time to Care process will make supporting a LUCS hub more feasible. The likely timescale is mid-2018.”

Meanwhile the Ely pilot scheme has been operating since last May and the spokesman said the results are “promising so far”.

She said: “The Ely LUCS Hub pilot has been operating with GPs alongside the Minor Injuries Unit Nurse Practitioners Monday - Friday with promising results so. More patients are attending the service compared to the previous year, and it is providing a one stop experience with fewer patients being referred on elsewhere.”