At the Vanguard of urgent care

24 July 2015

Far-reaching plans to ease pressures on Torbay Hospital’s A&E unit have been given the go-ahead after receiving national recognition.

Local health organisations and Torbay Council have become one of only eight groups across the country to be named as a Vanguard site for taking a pioneering new approach to urgent care.

They have been working on proposals to give patients increased access to services so that they have greater choice closer to where they live and will only go to A&E in emergencies.

Representatives from South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group, South Devon Healthcare Foundation Trust and Torbay Council travelled to London to bid for the status.

It was one of 15 bids from across the country to be shortlisted, and the only successful one south of the Midlands.

The prestigious Vanguard status means that two sets of priorities can be implemented locally, in 2016 and 2017.

For next year, these will include the rapid development of Urgent Care facilities at least two sites – one in South Devon and one in Torbay – prioritising areas of higher deprivation to reduce inequalities.

In 2016, the scheme will also share primary care records with Devon Doctors and co-locate primary care facilities with A&E facilities, or urgent care, in at least two locations.

The following year’s priorities will include a full range of urgent care sites being made available, one of which might be at Torbay Hospital’s A&E.

Dr Nick Roberts, chief clinical officer of South Devon and Torbay CCG, which oversees the majority of healthcare in the area, said the bid’s success will make a significant difference to patients.

He added: “Our strategy aims to make the best use of the resources spent locally on urgent and emergency care – deriving greater quality and value for money by avoiding duplication of effort and getting right care, first time.

“There will also be a move to seven-day services, and a reduction in 999 and A&E activity through enhanced 111 services.”

Other organisations included in the bid were Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care Trust, South Western Ambulance Services Foundation Trust, Devon Doctors and community pharmacy.

Vanguard status means that the group will receive national funding and expertise, as well as access to specialists in particular areas of urgent care development.

Jane Viner, director of nursing at South Devon Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust, which runs Torbay Hospital, said: “I am delighted we have been chosen as a Vanguard site.

“It is another example of how our collaborative and joined-up approach is bringing success. I look forward to working with the national Vanguard team to deliver our ambitious urgent and emergency care strategy, to ensure our patients and public get the best possible service.”

The Vanguard bid is part of wide-ranging redesign in South Devon and Torbay, developing strong working relationships between GP practices, mental health, the voluntary sector, police, schools, voluntary and independent care services.”

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