Proposal for emergency and urgent medical care

05/04/13

Emergency Medicine Consultant at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Tom Llewellyn said:

“Our priority is to ensure that the sickest patients are seen by very skilled specialist staff when they need to be.

To do this, we need to ensure that those specialist staff are available to respond to patients and the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Hospitals Trust is facing increasing pressures as nationally, recruitment into emergency medicine remains extremely challenging.

From August 2013, there is no guarantee that the Trust will have the number of doctors they currently have so they need to plan responsibly to ensure patient safety.

The changes we are proposing to make at this time relate to services at Cheltenham General Hospital at night time only.

Night time is the time when medical staffing levels are the most difficult to deliver and it would be particularly beneficial to bring specialist emergency doctors together on one site.

As part of the proposal, the Emergency Care Centre (within the current Emergency Department) at Cheltenham General Hospital would be run at night by specially trained nursing staff who are capable of treating the vast majority of walk-in patients.

Doctors (Acute Physicians) would continue to be on site at Cheltenham General Hospital to receive patients who had previously been reviewed by a GP.

However, patients with a critical illness and injury who need treatment from emergency medicine doctors would go to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Gloucester at night.

If a patient with a critical illness or injury arrives as a ‘walk-in’ at Cheltenham General Hospital they will be assessed in the Emergency Care Centre, receive initial treatment and a decision will be made on whether they can be admitted in to hospital in Cheltenham under the care of an Acute Physician (Doctor) or transferred by ambulance to Gloucestershire Royal.

With this proposal as a whole, the vast majority of patients would continue to access services in the way they do now.”

Benefits:

“By bringing together specialist emergency medicine staff at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital at night time, the Trust will be able to ensure early senior assessment and decision making, which will benefit the sickest patients and there will be more robust senior medical cover, round the clock.

The reason for concentrating resources at Gloucestershire Royal at night rather than Cheltenham General is due to the critical links to other services which are based there, such as children’s services, high risk maternity services and stroke care.” 

Local GP, Dr Caroline Bennett from Cotswold Medical Practice, Bourton on the Water said:

“No change is not an option and services need to adapt to overcome the current challenges. This proposal is driven by patient safety and ensuring there is early assessment and decision making by specialist emergency medicine doctors when patients reach hospital.”   

-END-

Note To Editors

Based on current planning, it is estimated that on average around 16 patients with critical illness or injury would be diverted from Cheltenham General Hospital to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital at night time.

The proposal for Emergency and urgent medical care is currently subject to public consultation: ‘Your NHS – Maintaining High Quality Specialist Services’. Further information is available at: www.gloucestershireccg.nhs.uk (Feedback section) or www.gloshospitals.org.uk