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At the Vanguard of urgent care

​​Dr Nick Roberts, CCG chief clinical officer
Plans to ease pressures on South Devon and Torbay’s emergency health services have received a £1.3million boost.

The money has been allocated to South Devon and Torbay’s Vanguard initiative, made up of local NHS health and social care organisations – including South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and Torbay Council.

These organisations are working together to develop services that focus on prevention and early intervention for patients, mental health, shared records.

They are also supporting the initial development of urgent care centres for patients whose condition is urgent enough that they cannot wait for the next GP appointment but who do not need emergency treatment.

The aim is for people with urgent but non-life-threatening needs to be treated as close to home as possible, allowing emergency services, including A&E and 999 ambulances, to concentrate on serious and life-threatening conditions, which will maximise patient survival and recovery.

South Devon and Torbay is one of only eight groups across the country – and the only one south of the Midlands – to be named as a Vanguard site for taking a pioneering new approach to urgent care.

The Vanguard group also includes Devon Partnership Trust and Devon Doctors Ltd.​​​

The £1.3million, which follows the £1.1million received last winter, is from a national £200million NHS transformation fund.

Dr Nick Roberts, the CCG’s chief clinical officer, said: “Recent work undertaken includes the putting in place of an integrated service for the free-to-call NHS 111 helpline and GP out-of-hours services, provided by Devon Doctors Ltd.

“This service is in line with the national model, creating quicker access to a wider range of healthcare professionals than has been available before.”

There are also plans to deliver responsive out-of-hospital urgent care services so that people no longer choose to queue in A&E, and ensure that those with serious or life-threatening emergency care needs receive treatment in centres with the right facilities and expertise. 

Liz Davenport, chief operating officer at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We all recognise that these initiatives have an important contribution in supporting people to access local services, and thereby reducing the need for urgent and emergency care.”

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.

Caroline Taylor, Torbay Council’s director of adult services and resources, said: “By working together in a joined-up approach we can make better use of our resources and reduce duplication to provide a better standard of care to our residents.

“I am pleased that our Vanguard status has attracted this new funding, which will help us to put initiatives in place to ease pressures and give patients more choice.”