General Practices in Derbyshire have joined forces to support colleagues in the county’s hospitals with the creation of a number of specialist assessment centres or ‘hot hubs’.
Many of these hubs will be in GP surgeries, but a number of specialist, stand-alone units are also being erected in Derby city centre, with the first being at the University of Derby, with initially a further two centre locations to be announced in due course.
The centres will be available on an appointment-only basis and staffed by GPs, nurses and healthcare assistants. Appointments will be made following a phone conversation between the patient and their local GP.
They will serve acutely ill patients who do not need a 999 ambulance, where all “remote” options (those that are not face-to-face) to manage the conditions have already been exhausted.
No walk-in patients will be allowed at these hubs as they are strictly appointment only.
Dr Susie Bayley, Medical Director of the General Practice Task Force in Derbyshire, said: “In Derbyshire we’re learning from colleagues across Europe and the world by putting measures in place now to ensure we’re ready to manage increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients in the safest possible way.
“We’re leading the way in the county, and the units will mean hospitals will only be used by those in critical need and GP surgeries can be freed up to work with patients with other requirements.
Clive Newman, Director of GP Development for NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Everyone across the county’s NHS is doing everything possible to make the best use of all available resources in these unprecedented times so we can meet the challenges we face in the fight against this pandemic.
“As the situation continues to evolve we’re continually developing new ways of working to support our precious patients and staff in keeping people safe and well.
“It’s a huge task and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their outstanding contribution to our united effort to beat COVID-19.”
Patients are still advised to use 111 online advice first, if they are concerned about their symptoms. 111 online will then advice and what next steps people should take.
The first centre at the University of Derby will fully open on Monday 6 April following early testing of hub working which is starting this week. Appointments will take place from 10am until 7pm.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, Professor Kathryn Mitchell, said: “We take our civic role very seriously and are committed to supporting our local communities.
“We are honoured to be able to host this facility, which supports local health services and the people who use them, and is just one of many ways in which we are working with the NHS during the pandemic.”
It is expected up to 2,000 people will be seen every day once all of the three hubs are operational.