CREDIT: This story was first seen in the Ipswich Star
Pressure on Ipswich Hospital’s under-strain A&E department could be eased if new proposals are approved by health chiefs, a Suffolk MP has said.
Ipswich Star reports that in a bid to tackle the number of people using A&E for minor illnesses, plans for a new GP streaming service will go before a board meeting of health chiefs next week.
Figures show up to 30 people a day visit the department for minor ailments and injuries – nearly 40 attend on Sundays.
Dr Dan Poulter said the initiative, which replaces plans for a £2m urgent care centre, is “by far the best option for patients in Ipswich”.
From September people who visit A&E at the hospital could be screened by a triage nurse as normal before being seen by a nurse, GP or an urgent care medic depending on the seriousness of their illness.
A section of the emergency department would be dedicated entirely to the primary care streaming service and would operate from 1pm-11pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-9pm at weekends.
Almost £500,000 has been invested into the initiative, which would also see GPs paid £80 an hour.
Hospital spokeswoman Jan Ingle said: “This is about people getting the right care at the right time from the right person.
“We do have a small minority of people who come to A&E who do not need to be there, and this can sometimes make staff who are responding to emergencies exceptionally busy.
“This new service would make sure people who do have minor ailments are treated by our primary care colleagues such as GPs and nurses.
“That way when emergencies come in the right people are able to respond to them effectively which I would say would help to relieve some of the pressure.”
Mrs Ingle also confirmed the streaming service would replace the bid for an external urgent care centre, expected to cost £2m.
Dr Poulter, who is MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said he would firmly back the plans.
He added: “This is by far the best option for patients in Ipswich.
“I have worked at a lot of hospitals and I think this model is the best.
“It could ease the burden on emergency staff who are under significant pressure.”
Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) bosses will discuss the plans on July 25.