Paramedics are now on hand to provide additional support to local people when they visit the Urgent Care centres in Skelmersdale and Ormskirk as part of the improvement plan being delivered by us in partnership with the local NHS.
With a national shortage of nurses experienced in urgent and emergency care settings, recruitment can be challenging, and so as part of a service review Elaine Wilson, Head of Urgent Care in West Lancashire for Virgin Care, came up with the plan to add additional skills to the centre and improve the services for local people.
Carmen Smith Clinical Lead Nurse for West Lancs Urgent Care Services said: “Paramedics are trained to think differently, more autonomously and are used to being on their own with emergencies and this allows them to consider a wider range of support they can provide to a patient to stop them from needing further treatment or being admitted to hospital later on.”
Dr John Caine, chair at NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Our Urgent Care Centres in Skelmersdale and Ormskirk are valued local services and the latest appointments of the paramedics are a huge benefit to West Lancashire. The new additions will further boost the capabilities within the hard-working team at both centres, ensuring patients are well looked after within appropriate timeframes.”
Elaine Wilson Head of Urgent Care for Virgin Care in West Lancashire, said: “Paramedics are a perfect fit for this kind of service, they have so many complementary skills. For patients, it means that they are able to receive great care delivered by an experienced and multi-disciplinary team,
“This will mean we’re able to really focus on helping to reduce pressure on the local hospitals by supporting more people in our service.”
The team of paramedics are part of a multi-disciplinary team working alongside GPs, nurses and Healthcare assistants, and Elaine says that nurses working at the centre have “found the experience very positive.”
Although the centre has employed paramedics, the walk in centre is not an Accident and Emergency department and patients with life threatening illness or injury should continue to visit A&E or call 999.
The Urgent Care services are open from 8 am to 8pm 7 days a week and can help with urgent and minor problems including sore throats, ear problems, coughs and colds, chest infections, urinary infections, skin rashes, skin infections, simple fractures and sprains, animal and insect bites, minor burns and minor cuts and wounds. The centres also offer an Emergency Contraception service. As part of the new way that Virgin Care operates the centres, the nursing team rotates across both centres ensuring a good skill mix at each and meaning residents need not travel to Skelmersdale or Ormskirk to access support, but can visit the centre most convenient for them.
Walk-in centres are unable to support routine GP requests such as chronic disease management, diabetes, routine referrals to a consultant and patients with these kinds of issues should continue to book an appointment with their GP.
Paramedic Paul, who has run clinical services across the North West and is now part of the urgent care centres team, outside West Lancs Health Centre – an Urgent Care Centre in Ormskirk.