A new service for patients needing immediate care in Rotherham introduced last year is now performing well following the decision by a company involved in the service to pull out.
The Urgent and Emergency Care Centre was set up at Rotherham Hospital last year to bring together a range of services including the emergency department of the hospital and the out of hours service for general practitioners.
Although Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust was the prime provider, the service was provided in partnership with a firm called Care UK which then left the arrangement.
However, Rotherham councillors have now been told the service has been reconfigured, with improvements showing through which are now outstripping national average performances for patient care.
Two new emergency care consultants have been working in the department since November and more GPs have joined the team, along with other advanced medical practitioners.
Steps are also being taken to improve recruiting, which is a difficulty in many areas of the NHS.
The results have been improved performance in seeing ‘accident and emergency’ patients within four hours.
The whole NHS is failing to meet that target – which should see 95 per cent of patients seen and discharged within that time. Nationally, the average falls short at 85.3 per cent but performance has been creeping up Rotherham and stood at 87.25 per cent in February – putting the trust among the top 40 from England’s 133.
Patient feedback also suggests the new system is working well, with 267 of 320 patients surveyed in January said they were extremely likely to recommend the service and comments including “great staff attitude”.
A report to councillors has accepted: “The development and opening of the new UECC was (and still is) a significant change management initiative
“Working together across the Primary Care, Emergency Department and GP Out of Hours Services needs to continue to develop
“Recruitment is improving, but Rotherham will have to continue to be innovative to recruit and retain staff.”