A new Integrated Urgent Care and GP Extended Access service provided by HUC launches across West Essex today (1 April), commissioned by West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The service brings together local NHS111, GP Out of Hours and GP Extended Access services in evenings and over weekends to be delivered by one provider as an Integrated Urgent Care Service (IUC). These services were previously provided by three separate organisations.

HUC currently provide IUC services in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Luton & Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

As part of the IUC service and in line with national guidance, the CCG has commissioned a Clinical Assessment service, which is a telephone based, multi-disciplinary clinical function connecting the patient with the most appropriate clinician to manage their needs at an early stage of the process. This early clinical input in the patient’s journey helps reduce pressure on A&E and ambulance services by ensuring that patients will receive the most appropriate care for their needs 24/7.

The development of the CAS is designed to break the barriers between services and use resources more effectively. It will mean significant improvements for patients, including faster response times and clinical assessments.

“This is a completely new approach, bringing together three separate services for the benefit of patients. HUC and the CCG have engaged with a variety of stakeholders as part of our mobilisation process and have designed this new service around the needs of patients, giving them faster and seamless access to expert care and advice when they need it,” said Andrew Geldard, Chief Officer of West Essex CCG.

“The new IUC service is supported by experienced local staff, who have received comprehensive training, and local clinicians to give patients an immediate assessment of their problem and ensure they get the right help or treatment as quickly as possible. This includes advice for self-care, making a direct booking with a GP in the out of hours and, if required, dispatching an ambulance.

“Bringing the out of hours GP service, the extended access GP service and the NHS111 service together will allow professionals to work more closely together.  This will not only benefit patients, it will also help relieve pressures elsewhere in the NHS, such as in our busy A&E departments.

“HUC have worked hard alongside our outgoing providers to ensure the new service gets off to a good start and West Essex residents notice the improvements straightaway.”

David Archer, HUC CEO says

“We are excited to be launching this new service today. During our mobilisation process, we have met many local stakeholders across West Essex, including clinicians, Practice Managers, pharmacists and representatives from other NHS organisations and patients. For my colleagues and me, it has been a privilege to engage with so many people who are passionate about high quality patient care. I would like to thank everyone who has reached out and fed into the process of mobilising the new service. The feedback received has been invaluable and ensures that this is truly a service for provided by local clinicians and operational staff to local patients.

We have also been working closely with the outgoing providers to ensure a smooth transition for patients to the new service.

As the first IUC provider in the country to establish a GP led 24/7 multi disciplinary clinical telephone assessment service, we have seen an improvement in patient experience and the reduction of unnecessary demands of A&E and ambulance services.

We hope that the patients across West Essex will benefit from our expertise gained in other areas. We are keen to continuously improve our services and would like to encourage patients to provide feedback. Please go to our website for more information on how to do so www.hucweb.co.uk .“