• Integrated Urgent Care Service launch a success

    Patients in Devon are feeling the benefits of the county’s new integrated urgent care service [IUCS].

    The service, which launched on October 1, combines the out-of-hours GP service and NHS 111 helpline. It means patients now only have to deal with one system, making it quicker and easier to get the most appropriate advice and treatment.

    The new service – operated by Devon Doctors – allows 111 call handlers to make GP appointments directly, which wasn’t the case before. If patients need to see a GP, they either get an appointment at a treatment centre no more than 30 minutes away, or receive a home visit.

    Dr Justin Geddes, CEO of Devon Doctors, said: “We’re delighted with how the Integrated Urgent Care Service has started, and feedback from patients has been hugely positive.

    “The out-of-hours and 111 helpline services are closely linked. By bringing them together, we’re giving patients a better and more efficient service. As well as providing the best care possible, it will also allow us to make the very best overall use of GPs’ time and other available resources.

    “Devon Doctors is strongly placed to make this service a success. We had an excellent record operating the previous out-of-hours Devon GP service, which shows we understand patterns of care the needs of people across the county.

    “We’re also a non-profit organisation made up of Devon GPs. This means we’re not run to make money, and every decision we take is in the interest of patients.”

    The out-of-hours GP service makes GPs available for telephone consultations, treatment centre appointments and home visits. It’s for people whose health needs cannot wait until their usual GP surgery is open.

    NHS 111 is a free-to-use number, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s for patients who need to see a GP but are unable to get to one – if the practice is closed, for example.

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    Devon Doctors Ltd and its subsidiaries Access Health and Access Dental are social enterprises. We exist to benefit the communities we serve. We’re run by healthcare professionals, owned by GP practices, and don’t have any stakeholders. Any profits we might make are used to improve our services.

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