More patients will be able to avoid long waits in A&E as the Clinical Assessment Service expands in Lincolnshire.
The county led the way in being the first NHS system in the country to develop a Clinical Assessment Service (CAS) to run alongside the current NHS111 service in 2016.
Staffed by local GPs, senior nurses and pharmacists, CAS is provided by Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) in partnership with Derbyshire Health United and East Midlands Ambulance Services NHS Trust. The service an average of 112,000 calls a year and in most instances, after speaking directly to a clinician, patients are reassured that they are able to go to alternative settings in urgent care or their GP, or they are able to be heard and treated over the phone.
Now, the service is set to expand with more pharmacists set to be deployed during peak times and the ability for clinicians to book appointments for patients directly in urgent care settings or with GPs.
This will give greater confidence to patients that they have an appointment time rather than waiting in long queues in either urgent care settings or A&E.
Wendy Martin, executive lead nurse at Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “CAS receive calls directly from other health and care professionals who are seeking a senior clinician’s advice and guidance.
“For example, from paramedics who are on scene who want help to decide where to transfer a patient, or for advice and guidance on treatment that can be provided straight away.
“Care homes are also able to contact CAS for advice and as a result of these direct routes, there has been a reduction in the need for ambulance conveyances to hospital for these patients.
“CAS will be developing its services further with the addition of more pharmacists to assist with taking calls at known peak times of the week when patients call regarding medicines advice.
“The pharmacists will also be able to prescribe and CAS and the 111 service have direct connections to community pharmacies so prescriptions can be sent and picked up from the call.
“Another exciting development will be the increasing use of video-consultation for appropriate calls, so patients can confidentially show physical symptoms to help aid a diagnosis over the phone.”
Patients are referred to CAS by 111 or by health professionals.