Transforming same day health care in and around Devizes

24 November 2015

The way people in Devizes access local primary care services is set to change. Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and doctors from five GP practices are working together to develop an Urgent Care Centre, to transform same day appointments for minor illness and injuries.

Officially launching plans at Devizes Area Board meeting on Monday 23 November, members of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group presented outline proposals for an Urgent Care Centre, to be based on NHS-owned land at Marshall Road, Devizes.

The new service will be designed to reflect the way people expect to receive healthcare today – quick, easy access at a time and place that is convenient to them.  Whether within a GP practice or at the Urgent Care Centre, patients will receive the same high level of care from experienced healthcare practitioners.  Too many people currently use A&E services inappropriately; this new model will help people to get treatment from the right place.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Senior Partner at Market Lavington practice said:

“GPs in Devizes will be delivering primary care in a different way.  Our vision means that patients will be triaged by their own GP or the 111 service to the Urgent Care Centre or the most appropriate place for them to be treated.  At the moment a substantial number of Wiltshire people demand urgent GP appointments, which means doctors can’t get around to seeing people with more complex conditions until later in the afternoon.  Our new proposal allows us to free up capacity so that GPs in Devizes can review the care and support for people who are more vulnerable and at much greater risk of going into hospital.”

Dr Sandford-Hill continued:

“Once up and running, there will be, on average, an additional 540 GP appointments available each week across the area, freeing up one and a half hours of GP time each day where we can support patients in other ways.

“As well as having a positive impact on how GP practices manage their patients, we also expect it to have a positive effect on A&E admittance with less people presenting at hospital with minor illnesses and injuries. Our aim is for people to receive an efficient service which meets their needs and is closer to where they live.”

Deborah Fielding, Accountable Officer of Wiltshire CCG said:

“We know that a facility like this is something which has been championed by Devizes people for some considerable time. We still have a long way to go, but we are very optimistic that we will be able to open an Urgent Care Centre for the people of Devizes and surrounding villages within the next two years. We are grateful for the cross-party political support and particularly of Claire Perry MP and the Town Council who have supported our initial ideas to date.

“The next few months will be crucial as our proposals turn into reality. A lot still hinges on the ability to raise the funds required, but we are confident that these plans have an important role to play in the future of healthcare in Devizes.” 

The proposed facility will be built on land currently owned by NHS Property Services on Marshall Road in Devizes, and will be adjacent to the Devizes NHS Treatment Centre. Capital funds will be raised through the sale of the Devizes hospital site and some surplus land currently owned by NHS Property Services on Green Lane in Devizes.

Essentially, the development would be a new build and does not require the Devizes GP practices to sell their existing premises to raise the capital for its funding.  The Treatment Centre (run by Care UK) would be located next door to the proposed new development, ensuring that some services – including x-ray – could be shared.

The proposed plans will see a facility staffed by GPs, emergency care practitioners and nurse practitioners, resulting in faster and extended access to same day primary care advice and treatment.  In-reach support from social care and mental health providers are also proposed, as well as other integrated community support teams who will be based at the facility. The Urgent Care Centre would be open between 8am and 8pm, providing the opportunity to support the Prime Minister’s call to deliver 7 day working.

The CCG proposes an estimated time frame of approximately two years from November 2015.  The first twelve months will entail detailed planning, transport logistics and planning approval, and the twelve months from November 2016 for the build, movement of services from the hospital site and opening to patients.

Simon Truelove, Chief Financial Officer at Wiltshire CCG said:

“At a time when NHS finances are challenged as never before, it’s vital that the CCG and the local GPs are allowed to deliver our vision for the Devizes Urgent Care Centre as smoothly and as quickly as possible. We know the community hospital site is held in fond regard by lots of people in Devizes and the money raised by the site will ensure we can continue to deliver vital primary care services well into the future. The support from NHS Property Services, Wiltshire Council and most importantly the people of Devizes is absolutely crucial.”

Organisations meet to discuss diabetes

23 November 2015

Local organisations were brought together this week to discuss how best to help improve the diagnosis, treatment and management of diabetes in Wiltshire.


The fourth Wiltshire Council-led diabetes summit provided an opportunity for local organisations to meet and reflect on progress over the last year and to determine the way forward.


While type 1 diabetes often develops in people under 40 and is not preventable, 90% of diabetes is type 2 and in many cases may be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight and an active lifestyle.


In Wiltshire there are an estimated 6,000 people who have type 2 diabetes but do not know it. Wiltshire Council is working with its partner organisations to reduce the number of people suffering from the preventable condition.


Earlier in the year the council, together with Diabetes UK, put on roadshows up and down the county to raise awareness of the condition and to offer residents a free type 2 risk assessment. More than half of those who attended the roadshows were referred to their local GP practice.


Men are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes if their waist circumference is more than 37 inches and for women if their waist circumference is more than 31.5 inches. Early diagnosis, treatment and good control of diabetes is essential to reduce the chances of developing complications and to improve people’s chances of living a long and healthy life.


Another way to prevent people from getting the condition is for those eligible to take up the offer of a free NHS Health Check. As well as type 2 diabetes, the free health check can also help reduce the chances of someone getting heart disease, kidney disease and dementia. Everyone between the ages of 40 and 74, who has not already been diagnosed with one of these conditions or is otherwise ineligible, is invited every five years to have a free NHS Health Check.


Maggie Rae, Wiltshire Council corporate director said:

“This summit was a welcome opportunity for colleagues to meet  and to plan how we support people with both types of diabetes as effectively as possible, and to improve the prevention of developing type 2 diabetes.


“We have made good progress in the last year and we will continue to work together and ensure it continues.”


Keith Humphries, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, who also chaired the summit said

“We had a good turnout at the summit which demonstrates to me there is a collective commitment to work together to tackle this issue.


“There was lots of good discussion and many ideas generated for us to take forward.


Dr Andrew Girdher, spokesperson for Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and GP in Box, comments:

“Type 2 diabetes is in most cases entirely preventable. Early diagnosis means that there is every chance that the symptoms can be managed without the need for medication.


“Making the right lifestyle choices is so important. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly helps to reduce your chance of developing the disease.


“The symptoms of type 2 diabetes are relatively mild and progress over time, making it difficult to spot. However, if you have noticed that you need to urinate more frequently, are increasingly thirsty, very tired or have blurred vision it is advisable to make an appointment to see your GP. 


“The important thing to note if you do have diabetes is to make sure that you look after yourself and attend your various appointments with healthcare professionals. Attending a diabetes course could also help you manage your condition.”