The Island’s integrated Urgent Care Hub, which includes the Island’s NHS 111 service, has been praised locally by the people who use the service following recent reports which criticised the NHS 111 Service on a national scale.
Chris Smith, Head of the Island’s Ambulance Service and NHS 111, said: “I would like to thank the public for their recent support and praise for the service provided here on the Island. Unlike many of our mainland colleagues, the Island’s Ambulance service has been in partnership with the GP Out Of Hours service for several years and has an excellent working relationship with GP’s on the Island. We are very proud to provide this service to the public and, since our go live date, we have dealt with over 47,000 calls here on the Island and received only four complaints associated to the NHS 111 service.”
The integrated Urgent Care Hub was established in 2010 with the support of Isle of Wight Council to manage and coordinate all emergency, urgent and unscheduled care for the Island. The hub aims to provide care closer to the patient’s home, avoid unnecessary admission to the acute hospital, deliver high quality co-ordinated patient/client care and ensure more efficient use of both organisations’ resources. The Urgent Care Hub has a sophisticated and robust IT infrastructure to support this unique solution, which enables the sharing of information with all health and social care professionals involved in the patient/client’s care package.
The hub is a whole system approach, linking the hospital, ambulance, GPs in and out of hours, district nursing, multi-disciplinary community support teams, mental health and social care through a call centre that promotes interdisciplinary working and provides a single point of contact for patients through two telephone numbers, 999 and 111. This is achieved following initial triage using NHS Pathways, where patients are signposted to the most appropriate professional through the use of a comprehensive capacity management system and directory of services (DOS) that includes all services provided on the Isle of Wight.
The NHS 111 activity for the period 1st February 2012 to 31st January 2013 was as follows:
• Total number of calls to NHS 111 47,705
• Number of Ambulance despatches 4,476
• Recommended to the Emergency Department 2,360
• Recommended to attend primary/community care incl. pharmacy 21,100
Chris Smith continued: “All the staff in the centre are professionally trained within their own specialist areas and undertake rigorous training and assessment prior to “going live” on the system. The team in the Hub are all Island Based staff who care about the Islands population and visitors and are motivated to provide the best level of advice possible and ensure we direct people to the right care at the right time and, importantly, the right place.”
When awarding accreditation to deliver NHS 111 on the Isle of Wight, the Department of Health was complimentary on both the use of innovative technology and the level of integration achieved to deliver the service.
The NHS 111 scheme on the Island is a “pilot” scheme and is due to run until March 2014. Isle of Wight NHS Trust which includes the Island’s Ambulance, community, hospital and mental health services, are working with Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to review the service and hopefully maintain the Island based service beyond March 2014. Future developments within the hub will support remote monitoring through telehealth and telecare to support caring for patients in their own home, admission avoidance and early discharge from the acute setting.