Plans to create a community-based model of care unveiled

People in Cornwall will be among the first in the country to benefit from national changes to improve the way people can get urgent help for conditions such as broken bones, burns, sprains and strains.

Cornwall will have three urgent treatment centres at Bodmin, Truro and West Cornwall. The centres will be run by a team of doctors, nurses and other clinicians who will work together closely to get people with serious conditions treated and back home as quickly as possible. They will have a particular focus on supporting older people with complex needs who do not need to stay in hospital. The new urgent treatment centres will enhance the county’s 25 GP surgeries which already provide a minor injury service, and eight minor injury units.

Boosting the way people can receive help for serious but not life-threatening conditions is part of both a local and national drive to keep emergency departments free for people needing help for heart attacks, severe burns, stroke, major traumas and having trouble breathing.

West Cornwall Hospital was chosen because it is already operating as an urgent treatment centre, it is well used and valued.

Truro (Treliske hospital) was chosen because we can offer a better service and experience to people by redesigning existing services in existing buildings. This way only the most acute medical emergencies are seen in the emergency department.

Bodmin was chosen because it is close to the A30 and has room to expand. 

The centres are also close to pharmacies which are open early in the morning and late in the evening, including weekends. Pharmacies provide invaluable minor ailment services to reduce the numbers of people heading to the emergency department when they could get help from someone else.

Dr Rob White, NHS Kernow’s clinical lead for urgent care, said: “The creation of urgent treatment centres is part of our exciting vision to create a more effective and sustainable urgent care system in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

“It’s no secret that our entire health and care system is under pressure from an increasingly older and frail population and people who need treatment for more than one, often complex condition. The number of people attending emergency departments and minor injury units is increasing each year and we expect this to continue.

“We want to improve our urgent and emergency care system so people get the right care in the right place, whenever they need it. Improving the ways people can get convenient and locally enhanced treatment and access to advice is an important step on our journey. Increasing the ways people can get help for serious, but not life-threatening conditions, will make it easier for them, and also take pressure off our busy emergency departments, which should only be used for the most life-threatening of conditions like chest pain, stroke, serious trauma such as a road accident and major cuts, breaks and burns.

“We have listened to what people have told us about what services they want and where they want them to inform our plans to create a joined-up and improved health and care system, which works in partnership with our GPs, pharmacies, minor injury services and emergency departments. Everyone has a common goal: to provide first class care when people need it. Our new urgent treatment centres are another step towards achieving this.

“I also want to stress that the creation of the three urgent treatment centres will not mean the closure of any of our other minor injury services. If you’re unsure which service to use, please visit our website, www.kernowccg.nhs.uk which lists all of our services and when to use them." 

Plans to enhance other minor injury sites and services will continue to be developed within the context of broader and ongoing discussions about future models of community-based care. 

Notes:

In 2017 NHS England asked NHS Kernow and its partners to look at its urgent care system and designate which of its services had the potential to become urgent treatment centres. This is part of a national programme of work to standardise care. 

Plans in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been informed by three waves of Shaping Our Future co-production events across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. You can read more about the findings from the co-production workshops online at www.shapingourfuture.info

The learning from all of our co-production events is that because of Cornwall's geography, it is necessary to have a mixed model of out of hospital urgent care provision, which will include three urgent treatment centres, minor injury units and GP practices, as wll as pharmacies offering an enhanced range of services. There is insufficient clinical need to have an urgent treatment centre on every current minor injury unit site.

The mixed model for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly will include:

  1. Emergency Departments in Cornwall and Devon
  2. Urgent Treatment Centres, based at the most accessible larger sites.
  3. Minor Injury Units. 
  4. Pharmacies, many of which already provide minor ailments, emergency supplies and extended hours services.
  5. GPs. as a minimum 25 GP practices offer minor injury services as a Locally Enhanced Service. 
  6. NHS 111 and NHS 111 online providing access and advice via the telephone and online.
  7. Alignment of services with out of hours primary care treatment centres currently provided by Cornwall 111
  8. Alignment of services with additional primary care services during evenings and weekend.

What is an urgent treatment centre?

Urgent treatment centres provide a range of services delivered by a multi-disciplinary team. They can see and treat a broader range of people with frail and complex needs, than a traditional minor injury unit. 

They are run by a team of doctors, nurses and other clinicians. They will be open every day, and be equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common ailments people attend the emergency department for.

Urgent treatment centres will ease the pressure on hospitals, leaving other parts of the system free to treat the most serious cases. The urgent treatment centre offer will lead to fewer emergency department attendances, or, if co-located with other services such as the emergency department in Truro, the opportunity to stream at the front door.

What conditions can be treated at an urgent treatment centre?

The following can include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Suspected broken limbs
  • Minor head injuries
  • Cuts and grazes
  • Bites and stings
  • Minor scalds and burns
  • Ear and throat infections
  • Skin infections and rashes
  • Eye problems
  • Coughs and colds
  • Feverish illnesses
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Emergency contraception