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.”