Lakeside Healthcare will be pitching in with the treatment of ambulatory patients who arrive at Leicester Royal Infirmary’s accident and emergency department.
This critical issue of primary care has been instigated by University Hospitals of Leicester Trust.
As part of the arrangements, Lakeside Healthcare will treat stream its patients at the unit’s ‘front door’.
The scheme is intended to ease pressure on the Royal infirmary, as numerous institutions across the NHS struggle with capacity problems.
It was reported a couple of weeks ago that capacity in large part of the NHS is already running at winter levels.
This is an alarming statistic considering that the busiest period of time for the NHS has yet to arrive.
The scheme will see specialist GPs and nurses from the Lakeside institution make key decisions about whether patients can be treated within the hospital.
Additionally, assessments will be made about whether it would be possible for patients to utilise alternative services.
As the Leicester trust continues to face pressure, this scheme is essentially a pilot that will be run over the next couple of weeks.
Should it be successful in easing pressure on the health service in the East Midlands region, it is likely that it will continue until November 2016.
While the initiative is funded by Leicestershire clinical commissioning groups – Leicester City, East Leicestershire and Rutland, and West Leicestershire – Lakeside will be contracted directly with the trust.
Lakeside Healthcare is one of the 14 multi-speciality community provider sites under NHS England’s vanguards programme. It is also part of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland urgent and emergency care vanguard site.
The ‘front door’ service is operated by Lakeside Plus, the Corby-based provider’s urgent care delivery arm, which also runs the Corby Urgent Care Centre.
Commenting on the new scheme, the trust’s chief operating officer, Richard Mitchell, stated: “The volume of patients that come into Leicester Royal Infirmary on an emergency pathway are greater than anywhere else in the country. Linked into this, the estate is very poor. We have looked for experience and skill sets outside of the local health system. The measures of success will be the use of community streaming [where patients who can use other services are directed to them].”
Mitchell was also positive about the potential of the scheme in the future.
“We hope to see community streaming increase. We hope to see the volume of patients transferred into the major emergency department reduce,” Mitchell commented.
Robert Harris, chief executive of Lakeside Group, believed that the scheme was a successful one, and welcomed its pilot status.
“This is a huge opportunity for Lakeside to demonstrate the difference that general practitioners with deep expertise in managing urgent care patients can make. Simply putting a locum GP in a booth in the emergency department makes little or no difference. You need a full advanced life support trained team of doctors and senior nurses who are coordinated and who understand how to cope with significant volume pressures,” Harris stated.