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Diagnostic service to be offered at healthcare hub in next phase of pilot

17th October 2016 | By Melanie Shilton | Posted in

Patients will soon be able to receive a range of diagnostic services, as well as even longer opening times, at one of Leicester’s GP led healthcare hubs, as the next phase of a successful pilot begins.

Blood tests, ultrasound scans and heart monitoring will be available at the healthcare hub run from Westcotes Health Centre from next month. This will complement the extra GP and nurse appointments already offered during evenings, weekends and bank holidays from healthcare hubs in the city, which are helping practices meet patient demand.

The diagnostic services form part of plan by Leicester City CCG to improve access to rapid tests that help to rule out or confirm an illness in the community, without the need for inconvenient and time consuming visits to a local hospital. Patients will be referred into the service by a city GP.

The original healthcare hubs have been running in Leicester since September 2015, and have provided over 40,000 extra appointments for patient’s struggling to get an appointment at their own practice or needing an urgent appointment outside of normal surgery hours.

From 17th October the hubs at Belgrave Health Centre, Saffron Health and Westcotes will continue to offer their current hours of Monday to Friday 6.30pm to 10pm, and weekends and bank holidays 12noon to 8pm. Then, during November, opening hours at Westcotes will revert to 8am to 8pm seven days a week so that it can begin to provide the diagnostic services.

As part of the changes, the pilot that has been operating from the Willows Medical Centre will come to an end, although the practice itself will continue to open as normal. As well as the remaining three hubs, patients will also be able to continue to access urgent care through the walk-in centre at Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre, which opens 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday.

Dr Avinashi Prasad, Assistant Chair of Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group and the lead GP for urgent and emergency care said: “During the healthcare hubs pilot so far, we have successfully been trying out new ways of providing care for patients. We have a vision for how the healthcare landscape will look for Leicester City patients from 2017/18 and beyond. We are using this final phase of the pilot to test further elements that we can incorporate into permanent services in the future.

“Patients tell us that they would like to receive more care in their local communities rather than in hospital. By being able to provide a good range of diagnostic services in the local community, we will be able to ensure that patients get a much quicker decision on the cause of their illness, all in one convenient location.”

The Digital GP Telephone Consultation Service that was also funded as part of the same pilot, will also not be continuing. Usage of the service has been very low and it is duplicated by elements of the NHS 111 service. Patients requiring advice and guidance about a health issue can continue to call NHS 111.

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