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A new GP referral service will be trialled at Hull Hospitals this winter to prevent patients having to make unnecessary trips to A&E.

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is opening a new Acute Care Navigation Hub at Hull Royal Infirmary as part of a four-week trial.

GPs taking part in the trial will be able to use the hub to discuss patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week instead of sending them to Hull Royal Infirmary’s Emergency Department (ED) for assessment.

Stacey Healand, the trust’s project lead for the Acute Care Navigation Hub, said: “GPs will be able to ask our experts in specialties like elderly medicine, respiratory or orthopaedics for advice about their patients in a single phone call, at any hour of the day or night.

“We are hoping this new hub will prevent around 60 patients having to make unnecessary trips to ED by giving their GPs immediate access to the information, support and expertise they require.

“We expect this new system will give patients a far better experience, sparing often elderly people the inconvenience of having to come out in the cold and wait in our Emergency Department for long periods of time. We want to see if we can use the hub to turn emergency, unscheduled care into scheduled care at every opportunity.”

The new hub is part of the range of measures being introduced by the trust this winter to ensure patients continue to receive the best possible care over winter when pressure on services could increase because of the pandemic, bad weather and seasonal illnesses like flu, RSV and norovirus.

A new winter ward, additional nurses, admin and portering staff and three new additional wards behind Hull Royal’s tower block to support, assess and treat patients with respiratory illnesses or suspected Covid-19 are also among the measures.

Opening on November 2, the hub will run for four weeks initially. Results will then be analysed and if it proves a success, the hub will be extended to all GPs using our hospitals.

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