A NEW emergency centre could open at the Great Western Hospital allowing staff to triage patients depending on the severity of their condition more effectively, reduce waiting times and ease pressure on the health service.

The Fix Me Hub, which could open as early as 2015, would be located in a separate part of the GWH with a single entrance for all people in need of emergency care. Staff would then examine patients and direct them to the appropriate unit, avoiding the A&E department becoming clogged up.

These would be the Resuscitation area, emergency treatment centre, GP Urgent Care Centre, Minor Injuries Unit, Ambulatory Care and Diagnostic Centre, Observation Unit and one of the Rapid Access Clinics.

The project was developed as part of Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group’s Urgent Care Strategy. Subject to the approval of its business plan, the hub would launch in 2015-2016.

“As part of its five year strategic plan, NHS Swindon CCG is working with its local providers to assess the potential benefits of a ‘fix me hub’” said Executive Nurse Gill May.

“The hub is a single location which provides access to a range of specialities helping to ensure that patients with urgent needs can get access to help the quickest.

“This model is still in the very early stages of development, but local providers agree on the need for patients arriving at the Great Western Hospital site to be streamed to a service that most closely matches their need. “Different services that could be included in a fix me hub model include: an Emergency Treatment Centre, a GP led Urgent Care Centre, Minor Injuries Unit and Observation Unit.”

It follows on from the successful opening of a GP and nurse-led Urgent Care Centre at GWH in the former Clover Unit.

The centre has allowed the level of emergency attendances to remain at the expected average of between 122 and 151 per day during the winter peak months, by seeing 500-550 patients per month who would otherwise have gone to the Emergency department.

“Benefits of this scheme will be patients will receive the right care, at the right time, something that we know doesn’t always happen now,” said Gill. “There will be reduced confusion for patients, who know they need medical help, but don’t know who they should be seen by and easier navigation for the patient as they only have to visit a single location.”