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Out-of-hours pilots to test new models of care

Eight pilots sites backed by £1.5m in Scotland

Adrian O'Dowd

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

New ways of providing out-of-hours care for patients are to be tested at eight pilots sites across Scotland with collective funding of around £1.5m.

The Scottish Government has announced it will allocate £10m next year to fund a National Delivery Plan to transform urgent care as part of implementing the recommendations of Sir Lewis Ritchie’s Out-of-Hours Primary Care Review, published in November of last year.

The Delivery Plan, due to be published in the autumn, will build on the initial testing programme which is funding eight pilot sites across Scotland to test new ways of delivering out-of-hours services.

The test sites, based in Highland, Grampian, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Tayside, Lothian, Fife and Ayrshire & Arran, will be used to inform the development of a wider national strategy for urgent care out of hours.

Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock will be the national flagship test site for the recommended Urgent Care Resource Hub model, seeing multi-disciplinary teams working in a hub to support primary care patients out of hours.

Other models being tested include a GP-led out-of-hours team in Grampian, nurse-led home visits in Glasgow and new pathways of care for paediatric and mental health services outside of normal working hours.

There is also a £400,000 investment in the out-of-hours technology system, Adastra, to establish a standard system across Scotland.

Scotland’s health secretary Shona Robison said: “Our NHS is facing different demands from those of a decade ago and we need to ensure all parts of the system work as effectively as possible to support an ageing population, with more complex, multiple conditions.

“We want a high-quality out-of-hours service which fully meets their needs and does so consistently and reliably throughout Scotland.

“Sir Lewis Ritchie’s Review into out-of-hours care in our NHS has provided a blueprint to take forward this work, and today’s announcement of eight test sites across Scotland is the first step towards delivering on the excellent recommendations made.”

The £10m National Delivery Plan later this year would look at what had been learned from the pilot sites and whether this could be rolled out across Scotland.

“This multi-disciplinary team approach, which moves away from the traditional model of the doctor being the first point of contact for all patient care, will utilise the skills of other highly trained professionals in the NHS and ensure patients are seen by the person best able to address their needs,” she added.

Dr Andrew Buist, deputy chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP committee, said: “We welcome this commitment to testing models to inform the development of a national strategy for urgent care.

“In particular, we are very supportive of the move to greater multi-disciplinary working which reflects the BMA’s vision for the future of primary care. It is essential that patients who need urgent care are able to access it when it is required.

“The test sites will pilot new ways of working to ensure that out-of-hours services are developed that will be able to cope with the demands that they will face in the years ahead.”

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