Out of hours GP care shortages mean Huddersfield patients end up in A&E
CASUALTY staff at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary have had to see more patients because of problems with out of hours doctors.
A drop in staffing levels at the Kirklees GP out of hours service provider has led to more work for the Infirmary’s Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.
Patients who could have been dealt with by the out of hours doctor service have had to be treated by A&E staff at the hospital.
The service is commissioned by NHS Kirklees and delivered by the company Local Care Direct to provide care when normal GP practices are closed.
The problem came to light at a meeting of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust’s Executive Board when an analysis was made of quarterly statistics.
Finance director Mark Brearley said that during the second quarter, up to June, a shortage of staff at Huddersfield’s out of hours provider had led to an increase in attendance level at the hospital’s A&E department.
Local Care Direct has accepted that at times a reduced level of staffing had seen a drop in the number of patients that could be diverted from the emergency department.
Advanced nurse practitioners work alongside A&E to identify patients who are suitable to be seen by clinicians in the Local Care Direct department, based in the Orthopaedic Outpatients section of the hospital.
Staffing problems had meant this system had been unable to function at full capacity – leaving patients in the hands of the A&E department.
A spokesman for NHS Kirklees said: “We have worked in partnership with colleagues at Local Care Direct and the Accident and Emergency department at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary to deliver high-quality, accessible healthcare for a number of years.
“NHS Kirklees commissions both A&E and out of hours services and works in partnership with providers to ensure first-class, safe and seamless care for patients.