A new GP-led patient referral centre has opened at Rowley Regis Hospital to help relieve pressure on hospital services over the winter.
The centre is being funded by Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and run by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, in a pilot scheme until March 2014.
Halesowen & Rowley Regis MP James Morris, who chairs an all-party Parliamentary group on mental health, visited the Primary Care Assessment and Treatment (PCAT) centre to find out more about its work.
“This is an excellent initiative by Sandwell and West Birmingham GPs and the Hospital Trust and demonstrates the benefit of giving local doctors the power to design services around the needs of our communities,” he said.
“The new centre is offering patients a better, faster service and at the same time it is helping to keep people away from A&E departments if they don’t need to be there.”
The service brings together expertise from GPs, community matrons, nursing and therapy staff. It is available to patients aged 16 and over who are registered with one of Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG’s GP member practices and need further assessment or treatment, but not necessarily admission to hospital.
Patients must be referred by their GP, West Midlands Ambulance Service or another health service provider.
Services provided include:
- Monitor and treat patients
- Give further assessment and/or treatment for patients with long term conditions
- Help patients to stay out of hospital, where appropriate
- Refer patients for diagnostic tests
- Agree a management plan in collaboration with the patient
- Support patients’ needs, helping to manage any medication and further appointments
- Admit patients to hospital, if they need hospital treatment
Dr George Solomon from the CCG’s governing body, who chairs its Strategic Commissioning and Service Redesign sub-committee and is a GP in Tipton, said:
“We have been working with health and social care providers across the area to reduce the increasing demand on A&E services over the winter.
“Patients sometimes need further observation but would prefer not to be admitted to hospital, and they can now access continued clinical support at the centre. This is a pilot scheme and we will be monitoring its impact over the winter.”
Toby Lewis, CEO of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “This is another promise delivered in bringing care closer to home. We are thrilled to be working with local GPs to develop more capacity in primary care locally.”