Rapid Access Clinic in Lurgan is praised

Health Minister Edwin Poots is pictured with Southern Trust staff in the Rapid Access Clinic at Lurgan Hospital. Also pictured is David Simpson MP.
Health Minister Edwin Poots is pictured with Southern Trust staff in the Rapid Access Clinic at Lurgan Hospital. Also pictured is David Simpson MP.
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Initiatives in the Southern Trust area demonstrate the benefits of Transforming Your Care, according to Health Minister Edwin Poots.

The Minister was speaking as he visited a new Ambulatory Unit in the Children’s Ward at Craigavon Hospital and the Rapid Access Clinic at Lurgan Hospital.

Since 2009, the Southern Trust has been providing ‘Rapid Access’ Clinics in Lurgan, Dungannon, Armagh and Daisy Hill Hospital, for people over 65. The aim is to holistically assess elderly people; services include medical and nursing assessment, often with a physiotherapist to assess mobility, an occupational therapist to assess functions such as cooking, dressing and personal care, and a social worker to assess care needs if they have been identified.

Health Minister Edwin Poots said: “This is an impressive service which meets one of the 12 Transforming Your Care (TYC) principles – to bring services closer to the home and reduce hospital attendances. To date, 1,450 people have been assessed at one of the clinics. The result has been that hospital admission has been avoided in 75% of over 65s assessed.

“The services are excellent examples of how the principles of TYC are shaping the future of healthcare in Northern Ireland by providing patient-centred care, helping to meet the increasing demand across Northern Ireland.”

The Rapid Access Clinic at Lurgan Hospital is an initiative driven by Dr Pat McCaffrey, lead Consultant Geriatrician. “Our aim is to assess elderly people within one to three working days and, if necessary, we can have investigations such as X-rays and blood tests with the results available on the same day,” explains Dr McCaffrey.

Dr Alison Troughton, a GP based in Portadown Health and Care Centre, said: “The Rapid Access clinic has provided an excellent service for our over 65 patients.”

The new Ambulatory Unit at Craigavon Hospital has been opened for children who need a short period of observation or treatment but don’t require an overnight stay. The unit is staffed by two Advanced Paediatric Nurse Practitioners, supported by the Medical Team and takes referrals from the Emergency Department and GPs and is open 9am to 10pm Monday to Friday.

Minister Poots said: “The new Ambulatory Unit is a very welcome addition to the children’s service. A visit to hospital can be very scary for children and this new unit is a way to reduce worry and stress for the young people who will be attending for short periods of time. The Unit has two advanced paediatric nurse practitioners supported by the medical team.”