The NHS in Devon has received more than £3.3 million in Government funding to improve its emergency departments.
The money is part of a £100 million fund being allocated to NHS trusts across the country to relieve pressure in emergency care.
Local trusts will use the funding to introduce a streaming service, which will direct patients either to a GP or to the emergency department team, based on the care they need. The GPs will be able to treat less urgent illnesses and injuries, helping to alleviate pressure elsewhere.
Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) has received £1 million to fully refurbish the emergency department at North Devon District Hospital. The refurbished department will include two GP rooms and a separate reception and waiting area for GP patients. The department will also get a new entrance and a new reception, with the whole area being modernised.
Dr Alison Diamond, chief executive of NDHT, said: “As a trust, we are already recognised nationally for how well we do against the national standard of seeing and admitting or discharging 95 per cent of patients within four hours.
“We are delighted to have received this investment, which will help us to build on this success and to make sure our patients have a positive experience of our care.”
The Trust hopes to have a GP room in place by October, with the full refurbishment being complete by spring next year.
Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded almost £0.9 million to create a GP streaming service as part of its urgent and emergency services at Torbay Hospital. Liz Davenport, chief operating officer and deputy chief executive, commented: “We are currently working with GPs to finalise the details of how the new service will work and look forward to introducing this new service to enhance our arrangements for urgent care at Torbay Hospital.”
Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust have also benefitted from Government funding to improve their emergency departments and have received £1 million and £430,000 respectively. Both trusts are working on plans to use this funding to develop a streaming service in their emergency departments.
In March 2017, Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, announced a requirement for all emergency departments in England to introduce a streaming service. The Department of Health funding will support NHS trusts locally to do this.