Care UK provides a range of services including out of hours, NHS 111, urgent care centres, GP practices, walk-in centres, healthcare in prisons and an innovative new model of telephone-delivered care called Practice Assist. This allows its clinicians to work in a variety of roles, offering a portfolio career.
Its integrated urgent care (IUC) team is made up of individuals who share a single goal of improving care for patients, whilst recognising people don’t just get sick ‘9 til 5’.
From dealing with minor injuries to managing life-threatening emergencies, a career with Care UK’s IUC team is busy and demanding. Highlights of the job include flexible working, getting home on time and no paperwork to do. We spoke to Dr Adnan Ali, GP and regional medical director for primary care at Care UK, to find out more.
What are the key job roles and responsibilities involved in urgent care work?
This can change depending on the service – within the urgent care centres the role can require managing cases that vary from emergency presentations to minor illnesses and injuries, working alongside a team of advanced and emergency nurse practitioners. Within the 111 integrated urgent care services, new roles are being developed working in clinical hubs alongside other healthcare professionals such as pharmacists, mental health nurses, dental nurses and social services.
What are the highlights of working in urgent care?
Urgent care allows GPs to use all of their clinical and communication skills in a variety of ways, especially as you may be treating patients over the phone, at home or in a base. The range of potential cases, from relatively simple requests to life threatening emergencies, also makes the role interesting and exciting. Not having to do any paperwork and being able to go home on time is a major highlight! Having the flexibility of choosing your hours, and even working from home, allows you to achieve a good work/life balance.
What are the main challenges?
Urgent care can be busy and demanding, with sometimes seriously sick patients. Managing the waiting times whilst prioritising clinical risk can be tricky and requires the whole team to pull together, which includes everybody from the frontline drivers and reception staff, to coordinators and on-call directors.
What does it take to be an effective GP in an urgent care environment?
You have to be a GP who enjoys seeing patients, loves working as part of a team, and has a good sense of humour! Urgent care work is developing into a sub-specialty that requires keeping up to date with practical skills such as managing emergencies and inserting catheters. The environment is supportive and newly qualified GPs or those returning to urgent care work are offered training and mentoring to develop their skills.
How is Care UK’s integrated urgent care work different to normal practice work?
Integrated urgent care (IUC) work is an opportunity to make a real tangible difference to the care patients receive, whilst recognising the fact that illnesses don’t affect patients ‘9 til 5’. Working within the IUC service is about delivering seamless care to patients and identifying where improvements could be made. Within the clinical hub environment, the GPs will provide advice and support not only to patients but also the multidisciplinary team, including working closely with the 111 call centres to help manage patients with complex clinical needs.
What career development opportunities do you offer?
All of our GPs are encouraged to work in a way that promotes continuous improvement through innovation and new models of working. To facilitate this we offer study leave and multiple training opportunities including clinical topics and healthcare management. I started as a sessional GP and subsequently became the medical lead for Bucks out of hours service and since then have taken up the role of regional medical director – the support and opportunities for development have been immense.
Sum up what it’s like to work for Care UK’s integrated urgent care team
The IUC team is made up of individuals who share a single goal of improving care for patients, and it is reassuring to know that I work with such like-minded people.