James Paget A&E may get full time GP

INNOVATIVE new measures could be put in place to alleviate the growing pressure on the accident and emergency department at the James Paget University Hospital .

INNOVATIVE new measures could be put in place to alleviate the growing pressure on the accident and emergency department at the James Paget University Hospital .

Bosses at the hospital have recently pleaded with patients to use the casualty department correctly after an increase in emergency visits.

Now there are discussions in place to have a GP permanently based at A&E to potentially help benefit patient care, reduce admissions and ease some pressure on acute medical beds.

A pilot project was carried out for several days over the winter with the GP establishing there was a problem with inappropriate attendances and to see whether a GP being based in A&E would make a difference.

Representatives from the Gorleston hospital will be visiting Derriford Hospital, in Plymouth, on a fact-finding mission shortly as a similar scheme has successfully been rolled out there on a larger scale.

A spokesman for the JPUH said: “We are currently working with NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney to identify best practice in other parts of the country, such as the South West, where GPs are based in admission units in hospitals alongside consultants and other staff to ensure that patients have access to appropriate services in the community that might help prevent admission or speed up discharge.

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“We have been trialling a scheme and are currently analysing the results to determine the best way forward. This is an exciting possible development that will support patients to access the best services for their needs.”

The JPUH has launched an information campaign featuring posters and leaflets amid growing concerns about inappropriate visits to A&E by patients with everyday ailments such as sprains, cuts, toothache or colds.

There have been almost 500 additional visits to its A&E department between April and June this year compared with the same period last year. There were record attendances on Monday, August 9, with 253 people turning up on one day compared with the usual Monday showing of about 200 patients.

Many of these wanted treating for minor conditions that could have been dealt with in other community health services more quickly and closer to home.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has also seen increasing A&E visits which has impacted on other services - it has one of the highest rates of cancelled operations in the country.

Duncan Peacock, a consultant in A&E at the Gorleston hospital, said: “Inappropriate use of A&E is a real problem, because it makes the queues for treatment longer.

“It also adds unnecessarily to the staff workload when they should be concentrating all their efforts on patients with serious conditions.

“We are asking the public to please think first and try to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on A&E. Only attend if you need emergency attention for a serious medical condition, accident or trauma. The doctors and nurses there are equipped to deal with serious emergency cases.”

The hospital and NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney have produced a series of posters carrying the slogan: The NHS Belongs to All of Us - Let's Use it Right.

Copies are being distributed to places such as supermarkets and libraries and being displayed in A&E and doctors' surgeries.