Ipswich Hospital issues own 999 call asking GPs to work in A&E for £100 an hour
Ipswich Hospital has offered to pay local GPs £100 an hour to work in accident and emergency this weekend – because it cannot fully staff the department itself.
The urgent appeal, which has been made to ensure a safe level of cover, comes as the hospital predicts one of its “busiest ever” weekends in the emergency unit.
It is understood an email was sent to GP surgeries yesterday by the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) appealing for help.
Ipswich Hospital’s A&E unit has been one of the best performing in the country in recent years, despite the ongoing pressures facing the NHS.
Hospital spokeswoman Jan Ingle said last night: “This weekend is going to be one of our busiest ever as it’s the peak of the holidays and there are also lots of people who will be on holiday.”
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She added there had been “gaps in the rota” for this weekend and said “it’s not something we do all the time”.
GPs were told in an email from the CCG yesterday morning their help is needed to cover the department from this morning through to Monday.
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A CCG spokesman said: “Emergency department staff at Ipswich Hospital will be delivering safe, high-quality services over the weekend.
“The summer holiday season is always a busy time for the department and we were more than happy to ask our GP colleagues to help out.
“Local GPs have volunteered their services as an additional resource to deal with those patients arriving with minor illness and injury.”
Mrs Ingle said GPs are “independent practitioners” and at their practices, are “paid by the CCG for the number of patients they treat”.
Payments would have been agreed by the CCG itself, she added.
The hospital’s deputy chief executive Neill Moloney added: “Our first priority is to ensure that we provide safe care to all our patients and so we have asked other doctors working within the system whether they are available to provide cover.
“With the support of local medical staff colleagues we have been able to fill the rota.”
In the latest national targets released this week, the A&E department saw 92.4% of patients within four hours in June, just below the national target of 95%.