GP super-practice to run 'front door' at busiest A&E in England

A GP super-practice is set to take over the the busiest emergency department 'front door' in the NHS.

Lakeside Healthcare - a 100,000-patient super-practice which is also a multi-specialty community provider (MCP) vanguard scheme - has been commissioned to provide triage, treatment and streaming for all ambulatory patients at Leicester Royal Infirmary A&E.

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust working with the three Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland CCGs appointed the Corby-based GP super-practice.

Lakeside Healthcare became the largest single practice in the NHS in September serving 100,000 patients across four counties when it merged with four practices in September. The super-practice could eventually expand to cover 300,000 patients.

GP integration

The practices is one of 14 MCPs developing practice-led integrated new care models and a partner in Leicester Hospitals’ urgent and emergency care vanguard.

Leicester’s Hospitals’ chief operating officer Richard Mitchell said: ‘We believe this will improve the experience for our patients and reduce the pressure on our emergency department and we are excited about this new way of working. We know that making sure patients are seen first by a senior clinician with the right training and skills means that they will be seen and treated more quickly.’

Mr Mitchell said that around 200 of the A&E’s 700 patients a day come for treatment which could be provided elsewhere.

‘The specialist GPs and nurses will make the decision about where the patient is best treated – that could be in the urgent care centre or our emergency department. But, it could also mean using alternative services – their GP, a pharmacist or even home to self-care.’

GP triage

Lakeside Group chief executive professor Robert Harris said: ‘This is a huge opportunity for Lakeside to demonstrate the difference that general practitioners with deep expertise in managing urgent care patients can make.

‘Simply putting a locum GP in a booth in the ED makes little or no difference. You need a full ALS trained team - doctors and senior nurses - who are co-ordinated and who understand how to cope with significant volume pressures. We have a model that is well-tested, that is quick and effective in its operation, that is clinically safe and a model that patients love.

'Not only that, but Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of NHS England has suggested that anyone who wants to see how a GP-led urgent care model really works should examine closely the Lakeside model.’

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