Acute medicine, chest pain, haematology and renal service improvements at Hammersmith Hospital - From Wednesday 3 August 2016

We know patients sometimes wait too long to access specialist knowledge, assessment and treatment at Hammersmith Hospital. This is partly due to the presence of an acute medicine service on the site which, despite being set up to quickly direct patients to the correct specialism and keep them safe in the meantime, can act as a holding bay and a barrier to specialist care.

To address this, on Wednesday 3 August 2016, acute medicine will be moved from Hammersmith Hospital and the resources redistributed to boost acute medical services at Charing Cross and St Mary’s hospitals and to patients waiting on the chest pain or crisis haematology pathways at Hammersmith Hospital; the two largest groups currently using the specialist medical assessment centre.

The following changes have been implemented

Renal and haematology patients:

On Wednesday 3 August 2016 we implemented new arrangements for receiving emergency renal and haematology patients at Hammersmith Hospital through a specialist unit, which provides a safe and direct access pathway for patients into these specialties, along with a reduction in inter-hospital transfers.

Patients who require general hospital services will continue to be seen at either Charing Cross or St Mary’s hospitals.

Renal
The opening times for the renal rapid assessment unit at Hammersmith Hospital are Monday through Friday, 09.00 to 18.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 14.00. Patients can call the unit during these hours on 020 3313 6603 and follow the advice given by the specialist nurse. 

Out of hours patients should continue to phone De Wardener ward on 020 3313 6695 and follow the advice given by the renal doctor.

Haematology
Haematology patients should contact the 24-hour helplines at Hammersmith Hospital and follow the advice given by the specialist nurse.

White cell helpline: 020 3311 7755
Red cell helpline: 020 3311 7788

Chest pain patients
Patients admitted to our emergency departments (EDs) at either Charing Cross or St Mary’s hospitals with cardiac chest pain are often admitted to a ward while they wait for a bed to become available for treatment by a cardiologist at the heart assessment centre at Hammersmith Hospital.

Any patients identified at our two EDs as cardiac chest pain will now be transferred directly to the heart assessment centre at for treatment, without waiting or being admitted at those sites.

This is the first stage of a phased programme which we intend to open up to other hospital EDs and the London Ambulance Service, so that appropriate patients can be conveyed directly to the heart assessment centre in the future.

This new pathway does not affect the primary angioplasty pathway for STEMI patients which will continue to operate as at present.

Urgent care centre
The urgent care centre (UCC) will remain at Hammersmith Hospital and is intended for patients who have urgent health needs and are not able to be seen urgently at their local practice i. GPs are asked to remind patients that the UCC is for people who have an urgent need to see a GP or practice nurse.Additionally, the UCC is not an appropriate place to send patients for opinion.

Patients requiring urgent hospital treatment should be directed to their nearest ED at either Charing Cross or St Mary’s hospitals.

Single point of access for medicine
The single point of access for medicine helpline, which offers referral advice to GPs, will continue to operate with revised hours:

Specialist medical referral service: 020 3311 8888, Monday through Friday, 08.00 to 20.00

For weekend and out of hours, referral advice can be accessed by contacting the medical registrar at Charing Cross Hospital via the main switchboard number: 020 3311 1234, bleep 8898