A number of improvements have taken place at the Urgent Treatment Centre at Westmorland General Hospital since coming under the leadership and management of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.
The unit was renamed to better reflect the service it provides to the local community – it was formerly known as the Primary Care Assessment Service (or PCAS). The renaming followed NHS England Guidance, but the service remains the same.
The unit now has additional nursing staff in the unit during peak periods. This means patients will be assessed more quickly and treatments given more timely.
The unit has also strengthened clinical leadership and appointed a Matron and a Clinical Lead with experience in Emergency Medicine.
Sue Smith, Executive Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay (UHMBT) said: “Their role is to continually improve the services we have on offer to improve quality and patient experience.
“New IT systems mean we can improve the information and record keeping for patients’ details and medical histories – and we now have enhanced patient transport provision and have introduced near patient testing.
“This will mean patients who previously waited up to two hours for blood results will only wait as little as 20 minutes. This will reduce the time spent overall in the UTC and avoid unnecessary delays in treatments.
“There have also been improvements in governance procedures and training to further improve the service offered to patients.”
In addition the X-Ray department nearby has benefited from improved equipment. The £350,000 investment means X-Rays are ready quicker and are much clearer than previously.
The X-Ray department is also now open until 8pm (rather than 5pm), with an on call service after that, to allow anyone arriving in the evening to receive a service.
“The service we offer to people between 8am and 11pm is very important to us. We continue to work with our partners in the Cumbria Health On Call (CHOC) team, who provide cover for out of hours GP appointments overnight.
“Anyone requiring advice for minor conditions should ring 111 and they will receive advice for the right service. In an emergency, ring 999.
“Between 11pm and 8am it’s really important to ring either 111 or 999 if you require medical attention, as during that time the GP from CHOC may not be on the hospital site.”
Local MP Tim Farron visited the Urgent Treatment Centre last week and said: “At a time when budgets continue to be tight, I’m really pleased to see University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust putting patients first and investing in our local hospital.
“After years of fighting to keep our services, it feels like we really are turning a corner with news of more and more upgrades coming to Westmorland General.”