Project Description

At Weymouth Community Hospital there were three separately contracted, different community services: the GP-led walk in centre (WIC), the minor injuries unit (MIU) and the out of hours (OOH) service.

These services see and treat people who walk in or are triaged from 111 with a range of primary care needs, minor illness, injury and urgent care needs.

These services were run separately and in different ways, causing confusion to service users. As a result Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group tendered for a more joined-up service to provide an improved service for local people.

Dorset HealthCare led the successful bid for the contract to provide an NHS urgent and emergency care service for residents and visitors to Weymouth and Portland.

We worked in partnership with local GPs, Dorset County Hospital (DCH) and South West Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SWASFT) to develop a seven-days-a-week provision based at Weymouth Community Hospital.

We wanted to reduce pressure on the local emergency department and to work in a more joined-up way with Dorset County Hospital, as well as providing seamless pathways with 111, out of hours and the ambulance service.

We also wanted to support local primary care and extend available hours of the service as well as developing a blueprint which can be rolled out in other areas.

It was important to co-design a service with local people to make sure it meets their needs and aspirations so community representatives were involved in our partnership group.

The new service provides a team of multi-skilled local clinicians including doctors, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals. They can apply their understanding of the local area to deliver highly responsive and personalised services avoiding the need for patients to travel to local acute hospitals.

We can help people with non-urgent care and minor ailments to get the right advice in the right place, first time.

The service provides highly responsive urgent care services outside of hospital, reducing the pressure on A&E. And it also ensures that people with more serious or life-threatening emergency needs receive treatment in centres with the right facilities and expertise.

Since opening the unit has seen 35,043 patients and emergency department attendances have reduced by 17%. Additional GP clinics in the centre are also reducing waiting times.

Secondments/rotations of medical and nursing staff have improved joint working, understanding and skills and a bespoke IT system enables one view of the patient for all partners.

Friends and family results are consistently 82% plus for patients extremely likely to use service. And we now have a waiting list of staff wanting to join our team realising joint working and development of staff creates good staff retention and recruitment.

Key features
• Involving patients and public when developing services
• Working across organisational boundaries to reduce confusion
• Reconfiguring services through commissioning.