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New Urgent Primary Care Centre project will help reduce pressures on GPs and Emergency Care services this winter

A new project will help improve treatment times and reduce pressures on GPs and Emergency Care services this winter.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has been successful in obtaining Welsh Government funding until the end of March 2021 for an Urgent Primary Care Centre (UPCC) project in Wrexham and Flintshire. 

The initiative will deliver two primary care centres, one within the Outpatient department at Wrexham Maelor hospital and another at Mold Minor Injuries Unit.

The project will target on the day urgent primary care presentations, creating capacity to support GP surgeries and reducing unnecessary Emergency Department (ED) attendances. 

A team including Advanced Nurse Practitioners, GPs and Physiotherapists will work together to provide care to people who have sought care from their GP or the ED.

The UPCC team will cover the hours of 8:30am to 8:30pm Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours, the existing GP Out of Hours team will continue to support patients and Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s Emergency Department where appropriate.

Since opening in Wrexham on 9 December, 24 people have been referred to the service from GP practices in the area and Wrexham Maelor’s Emergency Department.  Plans are in place for the second unit in Mold to open in the coming weeks.

The service does not offer a drop-in clinic. Patients contact their GP practice in the first instance, who will then  determine if they are suitable for referral to the UPCC team.  Patients presenting to ED will be triaged in the usual manner with referral to the UPCC team if appropriate.

Simon Jones, Assistant Area Director for Primary Care, said: “This is an exciting project that will see closer working between primary and secondary care for the benefit of patients and the organisation.

“GP practices are really busy at the moment, as are our Emergency Departments. The idea here is we will take from GP practices and ED some of the non-complex issues from patients, which will alleviate pressure on them.

“In practice, it means a more timely review for patients, who will hopefully not have to wait for treatment.”

The scheme is funded until the end of March, with potential to be extended. It is one of a number of projects across Wales supported by Welsh Government to improve access to care for a range of patients this winter.

GP Dr Elinor Cooper said: “I’m excited to be part of the UPCC and support my fellow GPs and Practices.  It is a great resource to have to be able to support our patients when capacity is limited in our own GP Surgeries and when the Emergency Department is so busy.”