Rochdale Infirmary’s Urgent Care Centre is meeting the needs of patients and a new joint pilot is set to improve things further

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Rochdale Infirmary’s Urgent Care Centre is meeting the needs of patients and a new joint pilot is set to improve things further
09 February 2017

THE local NHS in Rochdale is bucking the trend in urgent care waiting times by collaborating and providing innovative services, helping patients access the care they need across the borough.

While pressures are evident in accident and emergency departments up and down the country, the Urgent Care Centre at Rochdale Infirmary is offering an alternative approach to A&E and has been able to achieve 98% of patients seen, treated and either admitted or discharged in under four hours in November 2016, beating the government standard by three percent.  In Nov there were 3,975 attendances.  This has been achieved by working in partnership with its new and innovative community services.

The figures are also impressive for October where staff hit 97 percent with 4,158 attendances and in December hit 96.6 percent with 4,272 attendances. The government standard is 95 percent.

Watch the Sky News report from Rochdale Infirmary

This is an impressive feat on its own merit, and Rochdale Infirmary UCC is clearly the place to come for local residents with non critical injuries. Especially given that they will be seen quickly, with little or no waiting. The UCC is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

However, health and social care staff within the community team are convinced things are going to get even better now that a new pilot scheme is up and running, which supports improved patient care and avoids unnecessary hospital admissions throughout Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale.

New pilot

The new pilot scheme, which started in November 2016, provides an emergency response vehicle manned by a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals that goes out in the community to people’s homes.

Known as HEATT (Heywood Middleton Rochdale Emergency Assessment & Treatment Team) this consists of a senior paramedic and an advanced nurse practitioner from the local Urgent Community Care Team who have access to specialist services for patients i.e. pharmacy\medication support, social care, access to a local GP and enhanced diagnostics.

The team respond to emergency calls and assess and treat people in their own home and where safe, maintain them in their own home in a ‘virtual bed’ or community setting.

HEATT calls are identified from IT systems following 999 calls to the ambulance service for appropriate patients aged 18 years or over who reside within the Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale area. The HEATT service aims to target calls where there is an opportunity to avoid an emergency admission or A&E attendance, and provide care for patients in their own home or community setting rather than an acute hospital.

HEATT is a collaborative project between the community health and social care teams in HMR, provided by The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, its partners and the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS), funded by Heywood Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group. 

Elizabeth Bigwood, Lead Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Rochdale Infirmary said of HEATT:

“This collaboration supports patients in a Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale borough, who require urgent assessment and treatment and have requested support from NWAS. This rapid response team, comprising of a senior paramedic and an advanced nurse practitioner ensures that care is brought to patients, and we have moved away from transporting patients to where care is traditionally provided, i.e. hospitals.

“Since the service commenced at the end of November 2016, the HEATT service has responded to 133 emergencies and has supported 117 (88 percent) of these patients by providing care in their own home or community setting, therefore avoiding the very busy

Emergency Departments and not requiring an acute hospital bed, despite a high proportion of these cases having high clinical needs.”

Good patient experience

The feedback from patients and carers has been phenomenal so far. One lady, who had suffered a fall in her home and was suspected of having a fracture, was managed with the support of the Radiology team at Rochdale Infirmary, who undertook her diagnostic tests as an outpatient. The HEATT team contacted her with the results and admitted her into a bed in her own home for a few days of physiotherapy and enhanced pain management.

The patient, Mrs Ross, 86, from Rochdale borough said:

 “You read about these ideas but now I have seen it firsthand. This service is brilliant. I don’t need to go to hospital, which is not what I want. I want to stay in my own home, my own bed.

You have managed my needs around me and not around the hospital. You are all angels.”

John Kelly, Urgent Care Development Area Manager for North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust said:

"This is an exciting opportunity for the HMR Community Services team within Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust and the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust to collaborate to provide excellent care and reinforcing positive outcomes for patients."

Helen Allen, Senior Paramedic for NWAS added:

“The HMR Emergency Assessment & Treatment Team or HEATT for short, is a great example of a system resilience model in practice, serving local patients by providing clinically appropriate care within the community of Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale and potentially avoiding unnecessary trips to hospital.”

Heywood Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (HMR CCG), Chair and local GP Dr Chris Duffy said:

“The HEATT service offers a life line to poorly patients in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale whilst helping to relieve pressures on local NHS services. The service enables medical care fast, where appropriate an alternative to a  hospital admission and improved patient care – it’s a win, win. This is an excellent example of joint working with local providers and if this pilot proves successful it will be a huge benefit to the local community.”

Initially the HEATT service is available between the hours of 10am-6pm Monday to Friday although the aim is to increase operational hours to a maximum of 12 hours, 7 days a week.

Rochdale Infirmary Urgent Care Centre

Rochdale Infirmary UCC has an important role to play helping to take pressure off the A&E departments in the surrounding area including Oldham and Bury.

The re-designed UCC at Rochdale Infirmary opened in April 2011 and it is open 24/7, 365 days a year and is run by experienced nurse practitioners, paramedic practitioners, doctors and GPs.

Staff can treat non life-threatening injuries and ailments which don’t require an A&E department, but cannot wait for a GP or on-call doctor's appointment. Patients with very serious injury or illness (999 calls) are taken, usually by ambulance, automatically to neighbouring A&E departments or a specialist hospital, where appropriate.

What alternatives are out there for non-urgent problems?

The public in Rochdale are reminded that there are alternatives to A&E and urgent care services (Rochdale UCC). Those with less serious needs should consider seeking help from a community pharmacist, GP or NHS 111 if they have a minor ailment.

Extended hours hubs in Rochdale borough offer GP and nurse appointments in the evening, at weekends and on bank holidays.

Four ‘hubs’ – two in Rochdale and one each in Middleton and Heywood are staffed by local GPs and nurses to offer patients the convenience of an appointment out of usual surgery hours. There will also be a number of ‘on the day’ slots at the hubs to allow for more urgent access to an NHS clinician. Call 0161 763 8292 or your own GP surgery to access a slot at the extended hours hubs.

There are several ways in which the public and families can stay well this winter. For more details go to the Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale CCG or Pennine Acute Trust websites.