Let’s start a healthy conversation about Lincolnshire’s urgent and emergency care
The vast majority of urgent care services are delivered by GPs and their practice teams. In addition, currently in Lincolnshire, we have;
- A&E Departments in Lincoln, Pilgrim and Grantham (restricted opening times and admission criteria)
- Urgent Care Centres in Louth and Skegness (each 24/7)
- Minor Injury Units in Gainsborough, Spalding, Stamford and Sleaford
All of these services are supported by the NHS 111 service (backed up locally by the Lincolnshire Clinical Assessment Service known as CAS) and GP out of hours services across the county. In Lincolnshire, an average of 524 calls are made to NHS111 every day.
The development of these services over the last 30 years has sometimes resulted in confusion for the public about which service is best for their needs. In order to improve services and tackle this confusion Lincolnshire, like the rest of England, is required to simplify urgent and emergency care by introducing Urgent Treatment Centres (UTC) and GP Extended Access Hubs.
What is an UTC?
Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs) will be new in Lincolnshire, and will play a central role in providing urgent care to people, and protect A&E services for those patients who need specialist emergency care. UTCs are a facility you can go to if you need urgent medical attention but it's not a life-threatening situation. They are staffed by multi-disciplinary teams of doctors, nurses, therapists, and other professionals with at least one person trained in advanced life support for adults and children.
UTCs are GP-led and are required to be open for at least 12 hours a day, 7 days a week (including bank holidays). You can walk into UTCs during some opening hours, and you may be referred to an urgent treatment centre by NHS 111 or by your GP at any time.
Conditions that can be treated at an UTC include:
- Sprains and strains
- Suspected broken limbs
- Minor head injuries
- Cuts and grazes
- Bites and stings
- Minor scalds and burns
- Ear and throat infections
- Skin infections and rashes
- Eye problems
- Coughs and colds
- Feverish illness in adults
- Feverish illness in children
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Emergency contraception
What is a GP Extended Access Hub?
GP Extended Access Hub offers increased access to GP services, including at evenings and weekends. These are community-based facilities providing booked urgent appointments for illnesses typically managed in GP practices.
The main differences between an UTC and a GP Extended Access Hub are:
- A GP Extended Access Hub does not offer X-ray and diagnostics
- A GP Extended Access Hub does not have a walk-in facility for appointments, these need to be pre-booked via NHS 111/CAS
What are our emerging options for UTCs?
Our emerging options for UTCs are;
- New UTCs at both Lincoln and Pilgrim Hospitals supporting the A & E departments
- A new UTC at Grantham Hospital to provide 24 hours / 7 day a week access to urgent care services locally. This would replace the current restricted A & E service and reinstate local 24/7 urgent care
- UTCs at Louth and Skegness Hospitals with 24/7 access maintained
- UTC at Stamford, open for a minimum of 12 hours a day
- We also want to explore whether the current Minor Injuries Units at Spalding and Gainsborough should be maintained as they are currently, or developed further into UTCs
- To maintain the current GP Extended Access Hub at Sleaford
Through the addition of UTCs in Lincolnshire, we will simplify access into urgent and emergency care for all users, and provide local care for the majority of patients. We want to hear from you about what is important to you from your local urgent and emergency care services, and how you would like us to best spend the money we have on it in the county to deliver:
- Better support for people to self-care
- The right advice and treatment in the right place, first time to people with urgent care needs
- Highly responsive local urgent care services so people no longer choose to queue in our specialist A&E departments
- People with more serious or life threatening urgent care needs receive their treatment in A&E departments with the right facilities and expertise, in order to maximise chances of survival and a good recovery
- Urgent and emergency services working together so people receive a better experience and better health outcomes