Urgent GP providers demand seven-day hospital discharge service and diagnostics

GP-led unscheduled care providers have called for seven-day hospital discharge services and 24/7 access to diagnostics to improve integration between urgent and emergency care.

Urgent Health UK (UHUK), which represents social enterprise out-of-hours and urgent-care providers, launched a seven-point plan to transform unscheduled care at the House of Commons on Monday.

UHUK said its proposals to policymakers and health leaders would help break down barriers in urgent care provision.

It wants single point access to locality-based control centres to provide integrated unscheduled care aligned with other community-based health and care services and hospitals.

Access to diagnostics

The group’s report called for 'local access to a full range of diagnostic services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including more consideration of near patient testing', and a 'safe, supported hospital discharge process' which is 'resourced, available and co-ordinated seven days a week'.

The full seven-point plan:

  • Integration through commissioning underpinned by collaboration and long-term contracts.
  • Co-location of primary unscheduled services with A&E made possible by addressing the disincentive of the tariff system.
  • Provide 24-7 access to diagnostic services.
  • Robust processes for hospital discharge into community, including a seven-day shospital discharge system to prevent unnecessary admittances.
  • Expanded primary care teams and address barriers to retention such as indemnity costs to tackle the workforce crisis.
  • Enhance access to patient records and special patient notes.
  • GP pay levels must be made competitive with daytime hourly locum rates.

UHUK chief executive John Horrocks said: ‘These seven calls are a vital component in achieving a sustainable health and care system that delivers for patients.

‘UHUK’s vision for a locality based single access point centre to join up and co-ordinate services can play an integral role in ensuring the allocation of resources in the NHS and care system are distributed according to the needs of patients.'

Chairman Simon Abrams added: ‘We are committed to this vision and are keen to engage with all stakeholders across the health and care system and to encourage politicians to reach a consensus on how UHUK’s seven calls can be delivered in the long term.’

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