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A new integrated Urgent Care Service for Bath and North East Somerset

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A new integrated urgent care service for Bath and North East Somerset, including a new Urgent Care Centre and GP Out of Hours service, launches today (Tuesday 1st April 2014).

The NHS commissioned service is delivered by Bath and North East Somerset Doctors Urgent Care (BDUC), part of the Vocare Group. The new service adds another 195,000 people to an organisation which already delivers GP Out of Hours  services to 2.2 million people across Staffordshire and the North East of England.

BDUC services include a GP led 24 hour Urgent Care Centre situated next to the Emergency Department at the Royal United Hospital in Bath and GP Out of Hours services including appointments available at the new centre and Paulton Memorial Hospital. BDUC will also be operating the Homeless Healthcare Service at Julian House Hostel, Bath.

Bath-based GP Dr Alan Whitmore is BDUC’s local clinical director. He said:

“We have recruited a team of excellent local GPs and nurse practitioners and we are part of an organisation that has been delivering GP Out of Hours care for almost 20 years.  We are confident that we can deliver the very best integrated Urgent Care for the people of Bath and North East Somerset.

“If you think you need Urgent Care in the first instance call your GP. If your GP Practice is closed then call 111 and you will be directed to the most appropriate service for your need. In an emergency always call 999. If you’ve called 111 you will be assessed by a team of highly trained call advisors and clinicians. Depending on your condition you could be directed to an appointment at the Urgent Care Centre, receive a home visit from an Out of Hours GP or one of any number of other outcomes based on your telephone assessment.”

Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust Emergency Department Lead Consultant Dr Dominic Williamson said: “This is a very exciting development for the Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust and credit must go to all the staff involved for making this happen.

“The Emergency Department will be working very closely with those in the Urgent Care Centre. Emergency, Out of Hours, and Urgent Care are now aligned in a much closer way. When patients walk in they will be assessed by a nurse who will determine how urgently they need to be seen and by whom. If the nurse feels that the Urgent Care Centre can manage the patient they will be offered an appointment. If patients need to be seen in the Emergency Department they will be seen in priority order.

“Having a GP on the Royal United Hospital site will help to ensure that patients are seen by the right person in the right place.”

Dr Ian Orpen, Chair of BaNES Clinical Commissioning Group said “The launch of the new urgent care services will mean joined up care for our patients in Bath and North East Somerset.  We are delighted to be working with BaNES Doctors Urgent Care who have spent the last few months recruiting local GPs and nurse practitioners to work in the services.”

John Harrison chief executive of the Vocare Group, of which BDUC is a part, said: “As an organisation we began life 17 years ago, a collective of highly motivated local GPs striving to provide the best possible urgent healthcare provision for the population we serve – that  objective will never change.

“We ensure that all our GPs are local to the areas in which they deliver healthcare, meaning they have an excellent understanding of the local health services and provides for strong partnership work.

“They also understand the health trends in the local population for example prevalence of long term conditions, disease and underlying causes. As our organisation grows this is a principal that will continue to be applied to all areas, in this case in Bath and North East Somerset.

“We work in close collaboration with our primary and secondary healthcare partners delivering vital services and ensuring that the patients and their care are always at the centre of everything we do. To achieve this we offer our excellent infrastructure, training, clinical skill and support throughout the population we serve.

“We further support this by engendering a collective support network among our clinicians and providing internal educational processes to ensure our GPs are always aware of the finest healthcare practice out there.”